US Anti-JCPOA Moves Fuel Iranians' Distrust

US Anti-JCPOA Moves Fuel Iranians' DistrustUS Anti-JCPOA Moves Fuel Iranians' Distrust

US moves intended to interfere with Iran benefiting from its 2015 nuclear deal with major powers would only foster Iranians' distrust in the US political system and the UN Security Council, a former nuclear negotiator said.

"Today, the future of this quid pro quo is under threat and not from the Iranian side," Hossein Mousavian wrote in an article published by the Huffington Post on Friday.

He noted that the consequences of the pact falling through would go beyond the size and scope of Iran's nuclear program, which was subjected to temporary curbs under the deal in return for relief from economic sanctions.

"For Iran, the JCPOA was a criterion for judging whether it could trust the West to cooperate on other issues," the ex-diplomat said, using an acronym that stands for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal title of the nuclear accord.

"If the United States acts with ill intent and makes it difficult for Iran to receive the benefits it is due under the deal, then the belief of Iranian leaders that the United States is insincere and cannot be trusted will be reaffirmed," he said.

"If the JCPOA collapses, not only would there be no chance of any compromise between Iran and the United States on any other issue, but Iran would also lose its faith in the UN Security Council."

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has ruled out the possibility of negotiations with the US beyond the nuclear issue. The remaining US sanctions include a ban on access to the US financial system to process dollar-based transactions involving Iranian businesses.

Fear of US penalties has alarmed overseas companies to steer clear of the Iranian market.

Tehran has requested Washington to do more to help build foreign investor confidence in doing business with Iran.

Ayatollah Khamenei has said sanctions are still effectively in place and they have been lifted only on paper.

 US Obstructive Approach   

"US sanctions have also prevented Iran from repatriating its much-hyped frozen oil revenues, which have been held at banks abroad," Mousavian said.

Iran was supposed to have access to the frozen assets as of January 16, when the action plan took full effect.

"For Iran to retrieve this money, much of which was denominated in US dollars, requires the foreign banks to conduct dollar-clearing transactions for Iran, which they are hesitant to do for fear of running afoul of US sanctions," he said.

"According to US Secretary of State John Kerry, Iran has so far been able to repatriate only $3 billion of its $55 billion to $100 billion in frozen funds abroad."

Mousavian cited the US Supreme Court's recent ruling to seize over $2 billion of Tehran's assets and amendments to US visa law tightening control over travelers to Iran as other examples of US obstructive moves.

However, he noted, "With all of this said, there is still reason to hope that these hurdles will be overcome and Iran will reap the benefits it is due from sanctions relief."