Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement on 2 April, the day on which the agreement on key parameters of a final agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme was reached:
Like many of you, I have doubted often enough in the past days whether we would manage to achieve here in Lausanne today what we have failed to accomplish in the course of 12 years of negotiations. Today, I can tell you that we did it. This is great news!
I am delighted and relieved that we have reached consensus on key parameters of a final agreement after days and nights of tough and extremely difficult negotiations with Iran. This is a great and decisive step forwards.
We can be pleased with what we have achieved. While it is too early to celebrate, we have removed obstacles that, for a decade, stood in the way of an agreement with the key parameters agreed on today. We have laid the foundations for negotiating the final agreement and now have three months in which to achieve this objective.
It was and remains our aim to achieve a credible political agreement that blocks Iran’s path to nuclear weapons – effectively, verifiably and in the long term. We hold firm to this aim. This is what we have achieved today:
1. Iran has agreed to subject its nuclear enrichment programme to a multi-phase system of limitations and controls for up to 25 years. In the first ten years, more than two thirds of Iran’s existing enrichment capacities must be decommissioned under continuous surveillance and over 95 per cent of the country’s enriched uranium downblended or shipped abroad. Enrichment and research and development are only permitted within narrow limits and under strict surveillance in the years thereafter.
2. All of Iran’s nuclear activities are to be subjected to strict international supervision by the International Atomic Energy Agency for up to 25 years using various instruments. The transparency regime agreed with Iran is without precedent in its intensity and duration.
3. Should Iran infringe the agreed rules, sanctions may enter into force again immediately.
Above all, today’s agreement is a milestone reached by all of the many people who worked under no illusions, but with a great deal of perseverance, to find peaceful solutions to difficult conflicts through diplomacy.
If we manage to achieve a final agreement, then this would, to my mind, not only pave the way to a resolution of the Iran conflict, but it would be the first and only conflict in the Middle East that we have managed to de-escalate. This could therefore inspire hope for easing tensions in the region and between Iran and the Arab states. This dynamic could perhaps give rise to prospects for de-escalating other dangerous crises and conflicts in the Middle East.