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 programme.

“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 programme in return for relief from UN, EU and US 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.

Moreover, In July, Iran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions in a deal negotiated by the U.S., China, Russia, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. The deal still awaits approval in some places and implementation. The Federal Council said it “reserves the right to reintroduce the lifted measures” if the the implementation of the international agreement fails.

While the U.S. and many of its partners have drawn a hard line on Iran, Switzerland has sought an open dialogue. The sanctions had been suspended since January 2014, and the Swiss Federal Council said it had developed a credible partnership with Iran. The lifting of sanctions takes effect Thursday.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said U.S. sanctions remain in place and penalties would still apply to any country or company that violates them. He told reporters that the U.S. wasn’t informed in advance of the Swiss move to drops its sanctions before Iran has taken the promised steps to curb its nuclear program and before the U.S., European Union and United Nations have removed their penalties. Switzerland, home of some of the world’s largest oil traders including Vitol Group, Glencore Plc and Trafigura Beheer BV, has handled diplomatic and consular affairs for the U.S. in Iran since its revolution.

“This agreement opens up new political and economic prospects with Iran, including bilateral relations,” the Swiss government said. The decision underscores Switzerland’s “support for the ongoing process to implement the nuclear agreement, and its confidence in the constructive intentions of the negotiating parties,” it said in the statement.

Wednesday’s decision includes increasing the threshold values for reporting and licensing obligations related to money transfers to and from Iranian nationals.