Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreed to by the European Union, the P5 +1 countries and Iran, nuclear-related sanctions imposed on Iran were lifted, in exchange for Iran’s taking a series of verifiable steps that prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and ensure its nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful.
U.S. officials have said that so far Iran has fulfilled its commitments under the JCPOA, as the plan is called. But Iranian leaders have complained that the economic benefits Iran was to receive after the nuclear-related sanctions were removed have not materialized.
Some banks and corporations have expressed reluctance to do business with Iran, for fear of transgressing sanctions that remain in place.
To clarify what business is now permitted under the JCPOA, Secretary of State John Kerry and representatives of the U.S. Treasury Department met in London with several top executives from European banks. Secretary Kerry said the purpose of the meeting was to “put to rest misinterpretations or mere rumors about how this is applied. We want to make it clear that legitimate business, which is clear under the definition of the agreement, is available to banks,” he said.
“As long as they do their normal due diligence and know who they’re dealing with, they’re not going to be held to some undefined and inappropriate standard.”
Secretary Kerry added, “This was really an effort to listen to the bankers, to hear from them what their perceptions are, the hurdles that they see to moving, and to be able to address those as directly as we can and define for them our interpretation of the law and of the standards so that there’s a clarity going forward, and hopefully, an ability to do those things that are meant to be done under the agreement.”
Secretary Kerry said, “Both sides have an obligation to live up to this agreement and both sides need to get the benefit of the agreement. Our benefit is that we see a nuclear program that is now visible, open to inspection, understandable, restrained, and living up to the standards of the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency]. And they have an expectation that the sanctions that were supposed to be lifted are in fact lifted and that the implementation is appropriate.”