Diplomatic Push to Remove JCPOA Barriers

Diplomatic Push to Remove JCPOA BarriersDiplomatic Push to Remove JCPOA Barriers

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his US counterpart John Kerry were to meet on Friday in New York, their second visit this week aimed at ensuring that the implementation of last year’s nuclear deal would proceed as expected.

The two diplomats spoke to reporters after their first meeting on Tuesday on the sidelines of a signing ceremony at the UN for the Paris climate agreement.

“We agreed we’re both working at making sure that the ... nuclear agreement is implemented in exactly the way that it is meant to be and that all the parties to that agreement get the benefits that they are supposed to get out of the agreement,” Kerry said at the United Nations headquarters in New York, Reuters reported.

“We will meet again to sort of solidify what we talked about today,” he said of the Friday meeting.

Zarif said they discussed ways to “make sure that we will draw the benefits that Iran is entitled to from the implementation of the agreement”.

The Iranian minister added that he and Kerry on Friday would discuss ways of materializing their ideas.

Neither Kerry nor Zarif offered any details about the ideas they discussed.

The nuclear accord, reached with P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) in July, went into force on January 16 to give Iran relief from international sanctions in return for temporary restrictions on its nuclear program.

The United States has retained its unilateral sanctions over Tehran’s missile program and those related to Iran’s alleged support for terrorism and human rights abuses.  

The meeting comes amid Tehran’s complaints it has been slow to benefit from the deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, due to the remaining US restrictions that deter overseas companies from investing in the Iranian market.

“I fully expect that they will continue to talk about the sanctions relief process and the degree to which banks, foreign and domestic, as well as institutions, foreign and domestic, are evaluating their options under the JCPOA,” US State Department spokesman, John Kirby, told reporters at his daily briefing.

Kirby played down expectations that the talks would yield any concrete proposals.

Tehran has called on the United States to do more to remove obstacles to the banking sector so that businesses feel comfortable with investing in Iran without penalties.

Current US policy bars foreign banks from clearing dollar-based transactions with Iran through US banks.

But US officials have said the Obama administration is considering ways in which non-US companies could use the dollar in some business transactions with Iran.

  Joint Commission Convenes

Friday also saw the Iran-Europe Joint Commission convene for the first time after the implementation day.

Deputy foreign ministers and nuclear negotiators Abbas Araqchi, Majid Takht-Ravanchi and Hamid Baeidinejad represented Iran in the meeting, Fars News Agency reported.

It was co-chaired by Araqchi and European Union political director, Helga Schmid.

The commission, comprising representatives from all the parties to the action plan, was set up to monitor the pact and address issues arising from its implementation.