Uncertainty prevails over Iran sanctions relief timing

The United States and the European Union are still to make clear when they will ease economic sanctions against Iran after Tehran and world powers clinched a historic nuclear deal.

Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – Britain, China, France, Russia and the US – plus Germany sealed an interim deal on November 24 to pave the way for the full resolution of the West’s decade-old dispute with Iran over the country’s nuclear energy program.

In exchange for Iran’s confidence-building move to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities, the Western countries have undertaken to lift some of the existing sanctions against Iran.

But, there are different accounts of the exact timing of the promised partial sanctions removal.

The US says it will free up USD 7 billion of Iran’s assets frozen in Washington, some USD 4.2 billion of which is in oil revenues frozen in foreign banks. However, some USD 40 billion worth of oil revenues will remain frozen.

The deal would enable Iran to have access to another USD 400 million for educational purposes including the transfer of university tuition fees.

Following the Geneva deal, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Monday that the EU will likely lift some of the sanctions imposed against Iran in December.

But British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Michael Mann, the spokesman for EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said they expect the sanctions relief to be completed in January next year.

At the beginning of 2012, the European Union placed an embargo on Iranian oil and petrochemicals exports, banned the trade of precious metals as well as transactions with the Central Bank of Iran and froze its assets across the bloc. The measures came into effect as of July 1, 2012.

By Press TV


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