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US Seen More Willing to Remove JCPOA Hurdles
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US Seen More Willing to Remove JCPOA Hurdles

A former nuclear negotiator said US President Barack Obama's recent move to further ease non-nuclear sanctions against Iran signals his willingness to address Tehran's concerns relating to the nuclear deal before his term expires early next year.

The US Treasury Department published new guidance for businesses that said some previously prohibited dollar transactions with Iran by offshore banking institutions are allowed, as long as they do not enter the US financial system.

The clarifications from Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control also remove a blanket ban on foreign transactions with Iranian firms that may be controlled by a person who remains subject to US sanctions.

Speaking to ISNA on Saturday, Hossein Mousavian also praised the move as a goodwill gesture, saying, "Obama is seeking to remove obstacles to the implementation of the deal before leaving office [in January 2017]."

Despite the July 2015 nuclear agreement with major powers, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which gave sanctions relief to Iran in return for curtailing its nuclear program, the US maintains sanctions on Iran and certain Iranian companies and people

They are known as "specially designated nationals", for a variety of reasons, including its ballistic missile program, human rights record and support for groups the US deems to be terrorist organizations.

Friday's steps by the Treasury come amid growing complaints from Iran that it is not getting the sanctions relief it deserves under the nuclear accord because remaining US sanctions scare foreign companies from doing business in or with the country.

The US insists it has met its obligations and has gone to great lengths to clear up misunderstandings among banks and businesses.

Mousavian said the easing of the US sanctions was not possible without Obama's political will, although pressure from the European Union, Russia and China also contributed to the decision.

Noting that the nuclear agreement has committed Washington to lifting only nuclear-related sanctions, the ex-diplomat said, "The total removal of US sanctions demands comprehensive negotiations on all issues. Tehran has never agreed to engage in such negotiations."

 

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