Araqchi, EU's Schmid Meet on JCPOA Implementation

Araqchi, EU's Schmid Meet on JCPOA ImplementationAraqchi, EU's Schmid Meet on JCPOA Implementation

Nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi and EU political director Helga Schmid met in Vienna on Tuesday as part of renewed efforts to accelerate the implementation of the July 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and six major powers.

The deal came into effect in mid-January. It subjects Tehran's nuclear program to time-bound curbs in return for lifting UN and EU economic sanctions and ceasing the application of those imposed by the United States.

However, the remaining US non-nuclear restrictions have curbed Iran's ability to make the most of the highly-awaited momentum in the absence of the crippling restrictions to spur its economy by attracting foreign investment and technology.

Tehran has taken its grievances to international authorities and the state parties to the nuclear accord, namely the US, Britain, France, Russia and China plus Germany, together known as P5+1.

The current US policy bars foreign banks from clearing dollar-based transactions with Iran through US banks, thereby deterring them from entering the lucrative emerging Iranian market.

The issue was the focus of the last meeting of the deal's Joint Commission last month, which has been established under the pact, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, to monitor it and address issues arising from its implementation or the lack of it. In their talks on the sidelines of another round of international peace talks on Syria, Araqchi and Schmid reviewed the decisions agreed to by the representatives of Iran and P5+1 in the commission, IRNA reported on Wednesday.

The EU official reported on measures taken by the bloc so far to help facilitate the Islamic Republic's relink to the global economy and reiterated EU enthusiasm for building trade relations with Iran.

  Zarif Meets Kerry, Hammond  

In another development, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held separate consultations with US Secretary of State John Kerry and the British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond. The sessions centered on ways to remove the obstacles Iran I facing to enjoy the full benefits of the nuclear agreement.

Iran has called on the US to do more to remove the obstacles to the banking sector so that foreign businesses feel confident in wanting to invest in Iran without the fear of penalties.

Kerry urged Europe's top banks to resume business with Iran a week ago, reassuring them that there would be no risk of punishment as long as they make proper checks on trade partners and pursue "legitimate business".

"We want to make it clear that legitimate business, which is clear under the definition of the agreement, is available to banks," Kerry said in a rare meeting with executives from the top European and international banks in London.