US Open to More Clarification on Sanctions

US Open to More Clarification on Sanctions US Open to More Clarification on Sanctions

US Secretary of State John Kerry claimed on Wednesday the Obama administration has met its sanctions relief obligations to Iran under last year's landmark nuclear deal.

However, it is willing to further clarify what is and is not allowed in response to renewed Iranian complaints that it is not getting all the benefits it deserves, he said.

Speaking after meeting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Oslo, Kerry said Washington had lived up to both the letter and the spirit of the agreement and had gone the extra mile to explain to foreign firms what they are now permitted to do, AP reported.

"We have lifted the sanctions we said we would lift and we have completely kept faith with both the black-and-white print as well as the spirit of this effort," Kerry said.

"In fact, I have personally gone beyond the absolute requirements of the lifting of sanctions to personally engage with banks and businesses and others who have a natural reluctance after several years of sanctions to move without fully understanding what they are allowed to do and what they are not allowed to do."

The meeting came just a day after the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and Zarif renewed complaints that the US is not living up to its commitment to ease sanctions under the nuclear deal that gave Iran the relief in exchange for curbing its nuclear program.

US officials have claimed repeatedly that the sanctions have been eased and that Iran's complaints are due to foreign firms' wariness to do business with the country for other reasons, including ballistic missile testing, support for Syria's government and poor banking regulations.

  US Ability Not Unlimited  

Kerry told reporters he has repeatedly explained to the Iranians that there are limits on what the United States can do to encourage businesses to deal with Iran and said he thought Iranian officials are pressing to make sure Iran gets what it is entitled to under the deal "as rapidly as possible".

To that end, he said he believed there were areas where the US could do more to show it is a good faith negotiating partner.

"I think there are places where the United States could give confidence where there is doubt," Kerry said. "And, I feel that it is important for us if we're going to have future dealings [with Iran] or we want to have a reputation for good faith in negotiations we conduct anywhere. It's important for us to show good faith in executing this agreement and I intend to see to it that we do that."

Come July the historic nuclear agreement will be one year old. The Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani and many senior officials have often complained that Tehran got a raw deal as it is still unable to access all its assets frozen overseas nor can it benefit from the loans and resources of big international banks and insurance companies.

President Rouhani's political opponents have had a field day for months and at every opportunity lambasted the government for "giving more and getting less" in forging the agreement one year ago in Vienna with the six world powers (five permanent members of the UN Security Council  plus Germany).

The Leader this week again criticized the Americans for not doing enough to meet their side of the unprecedented bargain between the Islamic Republic and the US-led western powers (Britain, France and Germany). Not respecting the deal in its entirety will have consequences, he warned in a meeting with the government and military top brass.