FM Sees Economic Gains Despite US Hostility

FM Sees Economic Gains Despite US Hostility FM Sees Economic Gains Despite US Hostility

The economy has picked up significantly in the wake of relief from international sanctions under the 2015 nuclear deal, despite US attempts to complicate Iran's access to the pact's benefits, the Foreign Minister said.

"During the past one year since [US President Donald] Trump has taken over and targeted the JCPOA with rhetoric, Iran has signed so many finance and [foreign] direct investment deals that it has not even found the time and space to obtain all the resources" to fund projects, Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an interview with state television on Monday, ISNA reported.

He was using the formal title of the 2015 nuclear accord, namely the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which President Hassan Rouhani championed in the hope of reviving the economy on the back of the sanctions removal.

But Trump has railed against the pact negotiated under his predecessor Barack Obama, describing it as "the worst deal ever" and "an embarrassment" to the United States.

His decisions on the deal so far indicate he is poised to pull the US out.

This increasingly hostile stance combined with residual, non-nuclear US sanctions have held back foreign investment.

The non-nuclear sanctions include a ban on financing the deals with Iranians using the US dollar and its financial system.

Key economic sectors, particularly oil and banking, had been hit hard by the sanctions lifted under the JCPOA.

***Increased Foreign Trade

Zarif cited the rise in oil sales and foreign trade as evidence of the failure of Trump's hawkish Iran policy.

"We are now selling our oil and receive the payments easily, although some countries pay us in goods under the agreements made during the difficult years of sanctions. Those countries only include South Korea and China and our other customers, such as the European countries, India and Japan, pay us in cash," he said.

The top diplomat highlighted billions of dollars worth of overseas deals the Rouhani government negotiated after the nuclear deal as part of his plans to attract much-needed investment and access modern technology.

"During the peak of Trump's anti-Iran pressures and rhetoric, we see that the Italians have decided to design a new method to avoid obstacles to the development of ties with Iran. Likewise, the French have proposed a method." 

Rouhani's visit to the two European countries days after the nuclear agreement went into force in January 2016 produced huge deals on jetliners, cars, pharmaceuticals and metals.

"In spite of Trump's pressures, there has been good growth in the number of finance and direct investment deals. We have signed $29 billion worth of investment deals but we haven't been able to absorb part of it. Of that amount almost $12.5 billion has been finalized so far." 

Zarif said his ministry is pursuing a diplomacy focused on fostering foreign trade by tasking the Islamic Republic's embassies abroad and a newly-established internal economic department with promoting investment opportunities offered by the Iranian domestic economy.

"We are at the service of the country's public and private sectors to facilitate their operations outside the borders."

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