ZURICH Neutral Switzerland will officially lift on Thursday sanctions against Iran that had been suspended since January 2014, the government announced on Wednesday, citing a deal last month between Tehran and six big powers to curb Iran's nuclear program.
"The Federal Council (government) wishes today's steps to be seen as a sign of its support for the implementation of the nuclear agreement and its interest in deepening bilateral relations with Iran," a statement said.
The deal that Iran struck with China, Russia, the United States, Germany, France and Britain aims to rein in Iran's nuclear program in return for relief from U.N., EU and U.S. sanctions that were crippling the Islamic republic's economy.
The Swiss sanctions had banned trade in precious metals with Iranian state bodies and set requirements to report trade in Iranian petrochemical products and the transport of Iranian crude oil and petroleum products.
Switzerland will also introduce a new exemption clause that lets Berne implement U.N. Security Council resolutions on Iran.
The government said Switzerland wished to "promote a broad political and economic exchange with Iran" but would monitor implementation of the nuclear deal.
"Should implementation of the agreement fail, the Federal Council reserves the right to reintroduce the lifted measures," it said.
(Reporting by Michael Shields; editing by John Stonestreet and Digby Lidstone)