JCPOA Panel to Review US Performance

The JCPOA Joint Commission is tasked with monitoring the nuclear deal and addressing issues arising from its implementation 1
Mohammad Javad Zarif Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iran's foreign minister said the Joint Commission on last year's nuclear deal with major powers will convene shortly to address the US failure to help fully implement the historic initiative.

"Meetings of the Joint Commission have been held on an ad hoc basis to find solutions to problems," Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an interview with ICANA on Friday.

"Another meeting of the Joint Commission will be held in the near future to discuss the US lack of full commitment, among other issues."

The panel is comprised of representatives from all the deal participants tasked with monitoring it and addressing issues arising from its implementation.

Iran's complaint about US performance was also covered in the group's last meeting in July.

Under the pact, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran acceded to temporary curbs on its nuclear program in return for relief from crippling international sanctions and a resulting cleared path to rejoin global markets.

But Tehran is struggling to access financing from abroad while most major foreign banks fear unwittingly violating vague, residual American sanctions, which prohibit trade with Iran in dollars, through the US financial system.

Iran has pressured the United States to do more to remove obstacles to the banking sector and has sought European leverage to secure better terms from the US.

Zarif said on Tuesday that he hoped the pressure would achieve its intended aim.

"With the pressure we and our European partners are putting on the Americans, we expect that their commitments will not remain merely on paper and they will get more active in fulfilling them," he said.

The slow growth in foreign trade has inflamed anti-western sentiments in the Islamic Republic.

Earlier this month, Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei criticized the US approach toward the deal, saying it testifies to its untrustworthy nature and has substantiated the pointlessness of holding negotiations with the Americans and the need to stick to a distrustful view of US promises.

Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani has urged the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran to begin to consider ramping up nuclear enrichment.

***Lack of Clarity  

Iranian business leaders believe the United States has failed to spell out exactly what is permitted and what is not, maintaining uncertainty and putting off international banks from processing Iran-linked transactions.

The US administration denies it has done little to address the issue, claiming it has gone to great lengths to clear up misunderstandings among banks and businesses. However, bankers and investors argue there is still little clarity on what trade could be done.

Iran's push through diplomatic channels to have its grievances heard led to a joint statement issued by the United States, Britain, France and Germany in May to reassure cautious foreign investors.

The statement also urged Tehran to make itself more attractive to investors.

"For Iran to realize the economic improvement it desires, it will also have to take steps to create an environment conducive to international investment ... We are ready to fully support Iran's efforts in this process," the four nations said in the statement.

Experts partly blame Iran's complex regulations, a lack of transparency in its banking system, unclear dispute resolution mechanisms and labor issues for the behavior of foreign businesses.

Tehran later complained that the statement has yet to be backed by practical steps.