Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement on 16 January in response to the implementation on Implementation Day of Iran’s obligations from the Vienna Nuclear Agreement:
As of today, we have certainty that Iran has stuck to and fully implemented everything that was agreed in Vienna. The International Atomic Energy Agency has inspected and verified that more than two thirds of the centrifuges have been dismantled, the enriched uranium has been removed from the country and the core of the plutonium reactor in Arak has now also been destroyed.
The Iranian nuclear programme will now be subject to strict technological restrictions and watertight monitoring rules for many years. This reliably and verifiably closes off Iran’s road towards nuclear weapons.
In a region that is truly beset by crises and conflicts, a great many people can breathe a small sigh of relief today. At least the actual danger of nuclear armament in the region has been dispelled for the foreseeable future.
We are now reciprocating by lifting the economic and financial sanctions targeting the Iranian nuclear programme. It will therefore be permitted to do business with Iran once more. This brings with it the chance for relations between Iran and the rest of the world to enter a new phase altogether, even though other conflicts rumble on and differences of opinion or conflicts of interest remain.
Today we can rightly speak of a historic success for diplomacy. This is a big moment for me personally too.
Diplomacy can, after all, overcome seemingly irreconcilable differences and defuse perilous crises. I hope that this lesson will also lead to the creation of more opportunities for peaceful conflict resolution, for sincere efforts in the interests of good relations among states, in Iran and elsewhere in the region.
This allows one to hope that it may in fact be possible to calm other pressing crises and conflicts in the region too, particularly with a view to the civil war in Syria. It will not happen overnight, and it won’t be easy – but the same was true of the nuclear talks with Iran.