Tehran - In an area that is the main source of geopolitical concern in the world, one element of the puzzle is rapidly returning to its proper place: Iran. The Islamic republic is in fact complying to the letter with the nuclear accord signed last year in Vienna and moving quickly along the path that will lead it to re-establish normal diplomatic and commercial relations with the West. Recently, in an interview with France’s Le Monde, the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano confirmed that Tehran “is doing what it promised” and that “the agreement does not present particular problems.” Even more noteworthy is the fact that a few days earlier Israel made statements to the same effect, despite the fact that Jerusalem offered the most intransigent opposition to the signing of the accord in Vienna.
Interviewed at the 60th General Conference of the IAEA, which was held from 26 to 30 September in the Austrian capital, where the agency is headquartered, Yukiya Amano mentioned that only “a minor incident” had taken place so far, which the Iranian authorities “immediately remedied.”
“I can confirm,” the 69-year-old Japanese diplomat added, “that Tehran is fulfilling the commitments that it made to the letter,” doing everything that “it promised the international community.” The chief of the IAEA strongly denies the risk of nuclear “proliferation” in the Middle East, as Saudi Arabia and Israel - the only nuclear power in the region - feared on the eve of the historic accord. Despite the rumours, he insisted, there is no evidence of any “fact” that could “corroborate this speculation.”
The Iranian nuclear accord is perhaps the greatest success of Yukiya Amano, who is being considered for a third term as director of the IAEA, starting in November 2017. Regarding the Iranian atomic dossier, he guarantees that the game “is not yet over,” because it is a process that “only began a few months ago” and will require maximum commitment to “guarantee that the accord is enforced” in the future, as well.
The dismantling of the Western sanctions against Iran began last January, and if the accords are complied with, the sanctions will gradually be removed over a few years. Iran’s rejoining of the international consensus is excellent news for Europe and particularly for Italy, which can historically boast of excellent commercial relations with the Middle Eastern country. Despite the substantial isolation of the last few decades, worsened in recent years by commercial sanctions imposed by the West, Iran is still the 32nd largest economy in the world by nominal GDP. According to data from the International Monetary Fund, in 2014 its Gross Domestic Product was $402 billion; not to mention that in the two years before sanctions caused a more than 30% contraction in GDP, Iran was one of the 20 largest economies in the world, with an estimated GDP similar to Belgium’s and greater than Norway’s or Austria’s. The Shiite country can also boast of over 80 million inhabitants (like Turkey), among which there are many highly educated specialists and a wealthy upper class. For Italy in particular, Iran represents a very interesting market. Italy has always been one of Tehran’s most important commercial partners (sanctions permitting). In 2014, the commercial exchange reached €1.596 billion versus a peak of €7.097 in 2011. If one considers only exports, Italy reached a peak of €2.125 billion in 2008, while in 2014 they reached only €1.156 billion, which was an increase compared to 2013. There are hundreds of Italian companies in Iran at the moment, active in all sectors of the economy, except for the oil sector, which is prohibited.