Several months into the formal implementation of the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran, the Iranian government is growing increasingly impatient over US failures to live up to their obligations under the pact, both in unfreezing assets and lifting sanctions.
On paper, the assets are “unfrozen,” but as Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif complained to Secretary of State John Kerry about the matter, Iranian officials see this unfreezing as not meaning much if they still can’t access those assets in practice because of US Treasury Department efforts to keep them from accessing the banking system.
Kerry, who was seen as a driving force in getting the deal done in the first place, is now under pressure to see the US actually do what they agreed it, potentially setting up a battle between the State Department and other parts of the administration that are trying to be “tough on Iran” to placate Congressional hawks.
Still, with the Treasury Department insisting Iran can’t use any US banks, and also is forbidden from doing any US dollar denominated business, those unfrozen assets are mostly sitting useless in US and global banks, with no practical way for Iran to either spend or withdraw the money.
The State Department had previously been denying that this was all the case, but with the Treasury Department openly bragging about all the new restrictions they’re placing on Iran, it was inevitable that Kerry et al couldn’t deny it forever.
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