Tying Iran’s Regional Role to JCPOA Unacceptable

It was made crystal clear to the Americans during the nuclear talks that Iran's security, defense and missile issues and its regional policies are absolutely not negotiable and are separate from nuclear negotiations
Tying Iran’s Regional Role to JCPOA UnacceptableTying Iran’s Regional Role to JCPOA Unacceptable

A nuclear negotiator dismissed as "totally false" recent claims by US Secretary of State John Kerry, who blamed the sluggish pace of the implementation of last year's nuclear deal on Iran's regional policies.

"We made it crystal clear to them during the nuclear negotiations that the Islamic Republic's security, defense and missile issues and its regional policies and other matters related to the Islamic Revolution's principles and values are absolutely not negotiable and are separate from nuclear negotiations," Abbas Araqchi added.

"They promised during the nuclear talks and when we agreed to the JCPOA that they would never demand Iran limit its regional and defense policies," he told state television on Sunday.

He was using an acronym that stands for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal title of the accord.

Kerry claimed in an interview with the Foreign Affairs magazine last week that Iran's support for the Syrian government, the Lebanese Hezbollah movement and Houthis in Yemen are hindering its efforts to benefit from the deal.

The United States, along with the European Union and the United Nations, removed nuclear sanctions on Iran in January as part of the pact that also saw Iran curb its nuclear program.

But other US restrictions remain. These include a ban on Iran-linked transactions in dollars being processed through the US financial system and sanctions on individuals and entities allegedly identified as supporting "state-sponsored terrorism".

  Jittery Banks

International banks and firms have refrained from doing business with Iranian counterparts to avoid any risk of infringing the bans, which would inflict hefty US penalties.

Tehran has asked Washington to do more to ease their concerns.

But Kerry reiterated that the US has gone to lengths to try to do so.

"[The US] even gone beyond it in efforts to try to make sure that banks that are reluctant to do business [in Iran] for various reasons will do business," he said.

"But it's very difficult when Iran is engaged in Yemen and supporting [Syrian President Bashar] Assad and supporting Hezbollah and firing missiles that people deem to be threatening and so forth. That hugely complicates efforts to move forward rapidly," he added.

The US administration has said that banks and businesses have nothing to fear from resuming business with Iran, as long as they make proper checks on accepted trade partners.

But they contend that the owners of many Iranian companies are not easily traceable, making it hard to be certain that their potential partners are not among those the US accuses of sponsoring terrorism or violating human rights.

Some also cite the difficulties of dealing with Iran's complex regulations, a lack of transparency within its banking system, unclear dispute resolution mechanisms, labor issues and corruption as reasons for choosing to steer clear of Iran's market.

The US Treasury Department published new guidance for businesses last week 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 the US 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.

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