Until the last minute, enemies of the deal had protested fiercely: republicans in the US-Congress tried to topple the compromise as much as hardliners in the Iranian Parliament. Finally, however, presidents Obama and Rouhani secured tight but sufficient majorities for the controversial agreement.
After two decades of economic blockade, the sanctions will be gradually suspended. Iranian entities will again be able to buy German machinery and contract American financiers while satisfying Western demand for crude oil. In return, Iran gives up the development of a nuclear bomb during the next 15 years – which will be monitored by international experts.
Undoubtedly, the sanctions proved to be very powerful: a weak trade balance as well as high inflation rates show the impact of historically low exports and imports. For German exporters, in contrast, the situation constitutes an opportunity as their products might be demanded desperately – especially as preliminary inputs in the gas and oil industry. In fact, already today three-fourths of the – obviously in the meantime outdated – machinery in the Iranian industry is German.
Hence, a return to the formerly prospering trade relations is entirely possible. Also Mr. Gabriel, German Minister for Economic Affairs, the first western top-ranking politician to visit Iran after the deal was struck in Vienna this summer, left an indelible mark within the Iranian society. Thus, a doubling of the German export volume to 5 billion Euro in the next years seems probable.