The Cable

Iran Accuses U.S. of Not Honoring Historic Nuclear Deal

A top Iranian official has accused the U.S. of failing to meet the terms of the nuclear accord.


The head of Iran’s central bank has accused the United States and Europe of not living up to the terms of the nuclear deal by keeping Tehran locked out of the international financial system.

Bank chief Valiollah Seif, who is in Washington to attend the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, said Friday the U.S. and its European partners have done “almost nothing” to meet the terms of the deal. Last year, the United States, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Germany agreed to lift some financial sanctions against Tehran in exchange for Iran curtailing its nuclear program.

“In general, we are not able to use our frozen funds abroad,” Seif said at the Council on Foreign Relations. Iran’s partners “have not honored their obligations.”

Seif, who met Thursday with U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, added that if the U.S. and Europe do not live up to their obligations under the terms of the deal, it ”breaks up on its own terms.” He did not elaborate on what this means in practice, or of any specific cases where Tehran has been denied its assets.

On Friday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the U.S. and the rest of the international community “is committed to living up to our end of the bargain.”

The Obama administration is contemplating easing financial restrictions that currently prevent U.S. dollars from being used in transactions with Iran. But that’s a non-starter on Capitol Hill, where two Republican senators — Mark Kirk of Illinois and Marco Rubio of Florida — have introduced legislation to Iran from gaining even indirect access to the U.S. financial system, including using U.S. dollars in business transactions.

In a statement Friday, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) said governments and corporations must remember that there are still U.S. sanctions against Iran’s central bank and that Treasury considers it a money laundering concern.

Pompeo’s comments also come the same week Boeing said it was exploring doing business with Tehran — the first major U.S. corporation to dip its toe into Iran’s economy. Under the terms of the nuclear accord, any U.S. company can sell civilian aircraft parts, planes, and technical services to Iran under a general licensing scheme introduced after implementation day in mid-January. Cargo planes, UAVs, and military craft are off-limits.

In a statement to Foreign Policy, Boeing spokesperson Tom Kim confirmed his officials from his company had met with Iranian officials. He added, “We understand that the situation in the region is complicated and ever changing and we will continue to follow any updated U.S. government guidance.”

Photo credit: ATTA KENARE/Getty Images

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