Zarif says U.S. must soothe fears over banking ties

May 31, 2016

TEHRAN – The Iranian foreign minister has called on the U.S. to do more to remove what he termed a “psychological barrier” to alley foreign banks’ concerns over resuming banking ties with Iranian counterparts.

Making the remarks after visiting his Finnish counterpart Timo Soini in Helsinki on Tuesday, Zarif said, "It seems that there is a psychological barrier.”

"Some European countries, even European banks, continue to be concerned about retribution by the United States. I believe that (in) the United States, they need to go further in order to provide reassurances to the banks that this will not take place."

International limitations against Tehran were removed in January 2016 as part of the deal with world powers in exchange for a limited nuclear program.

Unlike the expectation that the arrangement ease up trade with Iran, foreign banks have been acting cautiously, fearing falling foul to U.S. fines incurred for sanctions breaches.

To soothe the concerns, the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with heads of some of European biggest banks in London in May, saying “There has been a reluctance in some places to take risk.”

“We want to make it clear that legitimate business, which is clear under the definition of the agreement, is available to banks,” Kerry told them.

Also, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said in the same session the U.S., England, and other world powers that negotiated the deal were actively working "to support European businesses in resuming normal trade and investment patterns with Iran."

In an appearance on April 15 at the Council on Foreign Relations, Central Bank of Iran Governor Valiollah Seif said Iran had not seen the results it expected after implementation of the JCPOA, asking for more “serious efforts” by the U.S. government to fulfill its commitments to help Iran re-enter the global financial system.


Zarif says the U.S. needs to do more to remove “psychological barrier” for resuming banking ties with Iran.


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