20/01/2014 - Foreign Affairs Council (FAC)
Council lifts certain EU sanctions on Iran
Ministers in the Foreign Affairs Council on 20 January suspended certain EU restrictive measures against Iran, following confirmation of Iran's compliance with nuclear measures in the agreed joint action plan.
The action plan agreed by the EU+3 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and the United States) and Iran in 24 November 2013 lays out a series of measures to address global concerns about Iran's nuclear programme. As a first step, it requires both sides to implement a series of voluntary measures for a period of six months. Iran committed to addressing the most pressing concerns about their nuclear activities, including suspending nuclear enrichment above 5%, freezing enrichment capacity, significantly reducing their stockpile of enriched uranium and allowing international nuclear inspectors better access to key Iranian nuclear sites.
The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed during the Council meeting that Iran has started to implement these measures. As a result, the Council suspended EU sanctions against Iran for crude oil, petrochemicals, gold and precious metals. This will also allow the provision of transportation and insurance services to countries importing Iranian oil. The suspension will last for a period of six months.
The Central African Republic
Following a discussion on the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR), ministers adopted conclusions underlining the EU's commitment to supporting stabilisation in the country. They approved an EU military operation in CAR and the related crisis concept for the mission. The mission aims to help develop a safer environment for citizens in the area around the capital city, Bangui. It will be in place for up to 6 months before handing over to the African-led international support mission (MISCA). The Council will take a decision on the rapid deployment of the mission once the necessary measures have been prepared.
Other topics on the agenda
Over lunch, ministers discussed relations with Russia, in preparation for the EU-Russia summit, taking place in Brussels on 28 January.
Ministers also took stock of the situation in Egypt following the constitutional referendum held on 14/15 January. They agreed to revisit the topic in greater detail in the next Foreign Affairs Council meeting (10 February).
Ministers discussed and adopted conclusions on:
- the latest developments in Syria, highlighting the EU's support of the Geneva II Peace Conference, scheduled for 22 January
- EU engagement in Afghanistan post-2014
- recent developments in Ukraine
- the crisis in South Sudan