At the sidelines of the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank, Iran’s Central Bank Governor Valiollah Seif is in Washington, pushing for the US and European Union to honor their commitments under the terms of the P5+1 nuclear deal.
Since the deal went into effect in January, the international community was obliged to unfreeze large amounts of Iranian assets held abroad. Much of the money was to be spent on modernizing Iran’s economy after decades of sanctions.
The money is “unfrozen,” at least on paper, but moving it around and spending it is providing to be extremely difficult, as the Obama Administration is seen pressuring global banks to continue to refuse to do business with Iran, and openly declaring Iran “forbidden” to use US dollars in any way.
A lot of EU banks that have no legal obstacle to doing business with Iran fear that doing so will lead to US “punishment,” and even though the Treasury Department initially insisted that was not the case, the Obama Administration has since been very vague on the matter.
Seif is urging US and EU officials to do more to assure the banking community that the nuclear deal is very much still in place, and that banks can give Iran access to their “frozen” funds abroad, and can do everything that the terms of the deal say they can do.
Absent that, Seif warns that the nuclear deal “breaks up under its own terms,” and with the US seemingly pushing so hard to not honor the deal, the Western nations looking forward to doing business with Iran won’t have to look far to find someone to blame.
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