Kerry: Iran Deserves JCPOA Benefits

Kerry: Iran Deserves JCPOA BenefitsKerry: Iran Deserves JCPOA Benefits

US Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged Tuesday that Iran deserves access to US dollars out of fairness to enjoy full economic benefits of the July 2015 nuclear deal with major powers because it has met its core obligations under the pact.

The accord, negotiated between Iran and P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security council plus Germany), went into force in January to roll back Tehran's nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions that had for years cut it from the global market.

Iran has complained it is not receiving the deal's promised benefits because the remaining US sanctions, including a ban on access to the US financial system for dollar-denominated transactions with Iran, are deterring foreign businesses and investment.

In an interview with MSNBC, Kerry pointed to the recent efforts by the US administration to give Iran limited access to the dollar currency, saying, "We are working very hard to do what is fair."

Asked whether the Iranians have proved to deserve such access, he said, "They have in terms of the nuclear agreement, absolutely. Iran deserves the benefits of the agreement they struck. And President [Barack] Obama has said it, I've said it, [Treasury] Secretary [Jack] Lew has said it."

Kerry said it is fair for Iran to get what it deserves because it kept its part of the bargain to date with respect to the nuclear agreement.

"We're under an obligation … If we said we would lift the sanction, we're under an obligation to lift the sanction."

The top diplomat added that the US administration has worked "to make sure" banks that are now allowed to do legitimate, transactional business with Iran after the nuclear agreement are doing so.

US lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have expressed strong opposition to Iranian access to the dollar currency.

***Contradictory Comments

Other US government officials, however, have made contradictory statements on the issue.

Kerry's deputy Thomas Shannon, seeking to reassure concerned lawmakers, said the administration is not looking to permit the use of its financial system for dollar-denominated transactions with Iran, Reuters reported.

"The rumors and news that have appeared in the press ... are not true," he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Later Tuesday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest denied Washington is preparing to reinstate "U-turn" authorization, which would allow foreign banks to use the US financial system to transfer funds for some Iran-related trade.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the US Treasury Department is moving to give Iran limited access to US dollars through offshore dollar clearing houses so American banks would not be involved.

A member of Iran's Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission said the US restrictive measures are a violation of the nuclear agreement, or formally the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

"The complications caused by Americans to the dollar transfer [in transactions involving Iran] appear to go against the JCPOA," Hossein Sobhaninia told ICANA on Wednesday.

He called on the deal monitoring committee assigned by the Supreme National Security Council to provide an appropriate, firm response to the US moves.