Zarif: U.S. vows not to punish banks that engage Iran

September 26, 2016

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that the U.S. has promised not to punish European banks that facilitate transactions with Iran.

Zarif made the remarks in an exclusive interview with the Tokyo-based Kyodo News Agency published on Saturday.
   
Zarif, who is in New York for the UN General Assembly, said he received assurances from his U.S. counterpart John Kerry that greater efforts would be made to allay the undue concerns of European banks.

“The U.S. says they encourage everybody outside U.S. to engage in business with Iran. Of course, we believe that was not sufficient, so we asked them to take further action to convince and actually remove the concerns of foreign institutions, particularly banks, about working with Iran,” Zarif pointed out.

Tehran remains to be critical of the big global banks as they have failed to reestablish financial ties with the Islamic Republic following the implementation of the nuclear deal between Iran and P5+1.

The nuclear deal, officially called, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), requires complete removal of sanctions against Iran and full political and economic engagement with the country.

But the Western governments, especially the United States, have so far refrained from providing assurances to global banks that engagement with the Islamic Republic is quite safe. 

According to the JCPOA, which went into effect on January 16, Iran is obliged to slow down its nuclear activities.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog, has repeatedly confirmed that Iran has lived up to all its obligations under the deal.

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