Majlis Briefed on JCPOA Delivery List

Majlis Briefed on JCPOA Delivery List  Majlis Briefed on JCPOA Delivery List

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday briefed the new parliament on the multi-faceted benefits of last year's nuclear agreement with the major powers.

He provided facts and figures on the progress made in the implementation of the accord as required under a bill passed by the previous legislature in June 2015.

The agreement, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, came into effect on Jan. 16. It eased the international economic sanctions in return for rolling back Tehran's nuclear program.

Zarif, who led the government's team in the negotiations culminating in the historic agreement, chided the critics for their unreasonable and premature expectations from the JCPOA.

"So far five billion dollars of the UAE debt, two billion dollars of [oil giant] Shell's debt and six billion dollars of India's crude export dues have been recovered and Greece has cleared all its outstanding payments," the foreign minister noted.

"Based on what logic, do you expect all the past problems to be solved within five months after the JCPOA implementation day?" he said addressing himself to the poorly informed critics of the deal and the political opponents of the government, ISNA reported.

Zarif cautioned that the moves and comments by some opponents of the deal are in fact contributing to the anti-Iran policies pursued by Israel and Saudi Arabia aimed at portraying Iran as a country rife with serious internal differences.

"I need to remind you that without the JCPOA, there would be more sanctions, the previous sanctions regime would continue and our oil sales would plummet to zero," he told the legislature.

President Hassan Rouhani, who championed the action plan, hopes to capitalize on the momentum created in the absence of sanctions to push through his economic agenda by encouraging and attracting foreign investment and technology.

But the United States has retained its non-nuclear sanctions on Iran, including those imposed for alleged terrorism charges, human rights abuses and missile activities.

Washington's lingering restrictions involve a ban on Iran-linked transactions in dollars being processed through the US financial system and sanctions on individuals and entities on a US blacklist of terrorism supporters.

The ban has deterred international banks and firms from entering the Iranian market.  

The key deterrent for foreigners is that they could face heavy US penalties for even unwittingly dealing with an Iranian party under sanctions.

The slow economic growth and other existing difficulties has been seized upon by the sworn critics of the deal who claim that it has failed to deliver the dividends often promised by the government.

The powerful opposition camp sees an opening to foreign businesses as a major potential blow to their anti-western conservative agenda because, they fear, it could help hostile western powers make the long-sought foothold in the country.

***Extraordinary Achievement

Iran's oil exports were hurt immensely by the western sanctions. Tehran has been struggling to recover the pre-sanctions export market share of 2.5 million barrels a day.

"When this government took office in 2013, crude exports had fallen to 850,000-900,000 barrels per day… Despite an oversupplied, bearish global oil market, the government has managed to ramp up exports to 2 million bpd," the senior diplomat told the lawmakers.

"This is an extraordinary achievement," the chamber heard him say.

Iran has attracted $ 3.6 billion in foreign direct investment and collected a major part of its oil dues from clients that it could not access in the past due to the economic restrictions.