Major Powers Expected to Uphold Nuclear Agreement

Major Powers Expected to Uphold Nuclear AgreementMajor Powers Expected to Uphold Nuclear Agreement

Iran has kept its side of the 2015 nuclear deal and expects the western side to uphold theirs, a vice president said.

"We hope to see an implementation now. We have complied; we expect others to comply too," Massoumeh Ebtekar, who also heads the Department of Environment, said in an interview with Deutsche Welle TV on Thursday.

Germany and Iran had strong trade and investment ties before international sanctions were imposed on Tehran over its nuclear program.  The lifting of those sanctions in January following a nuclear deal with world powers began a race among countries for a slice of Iran's oil-rich market of 80 million people.

However, the expected benefits from the lifting of sanctions have been slow to materialize due to US sanctions on Iran for non-nuclear activities, including those related to ballistic missiles, human rights and alleged support for terrorism. European banks have refrained from working with Iran owing to concern the US could impose fines for violating a complicated web of other sanctions.

To explain their concerns, the banks tend to point to the almost 1.3-billion-euro ($1.5-billion) fine that German lender Commerzbank agreed to pay a year ago for violating US sanctions. Iran has accused the United States of blocking the country's economic integration with the world economy. Lack of financing has upset the potential for major trade deals between Iran and Germany.

German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel wrapped up a two-day official visit to Tehran earlier this week, his second since the nuclear deal, assuring the Islamic Republic's authorities that Berlin wanted to give them assistance in restoring international relations.

  Women's Rights

Ebtekar also discussed the issue of women's rights in Iran, stressing that the western media were portraying an incorrect picture about Iran.

"It is not a holistic picture … Women are advancing in Iran. More than 60% of our women are getting into universities … Women are policymakers in Iran. When tourists come to Iran, they see a different picture," she said.

"We still need reforms in many areas. We have to understand that we have an Islamic society. Certain norms are to ensure women's integrity and dignity. It is not to limit women."

On the situation in war-ravaged Syria, Ebtekar reiterated Iran's stance that all parties involved in the Syria conflict needed to work together to find a political solution to the conflict.

  Terrible Ordeal

"There is a terrible ordeal … mostly due to terrorists that are armed and supported by certain groups and countries. The solution to the Syrian conflict is only political," she said.

"We have been doing our best. The important thing is that we must understand that terrorists are being funded. This has not been properly addressed."

Ebtekar also took the opportunity to decry civilian casualties from the war in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition against the Houthi movement to reinstate fugitive president, Abd-Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

The Yemeni conflict has resulted in an increasingly dire humanitarian crisis. Over three million people have been displaced from their homes, hundreds of thousands of whom have sought refuge abroad. At least 10,000 civilians have been killed in the fighting.



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