Monday, 21 May, 2018

US barrels toward lifting Iran sanctions

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The United States is steaming ahead with implementation of the nuclear deal with Iran, and appears ready to lift sanctions as soon as this month.

The final step in the years-long process could be just “days away,” according to US Secretary of State John Kerry.

“I think it could come, without being specific, sooner rather than later,” he told reporters at the State Department this week.

The quick pace of implementation comes despite harsh opposition from Capitol Hill, where critics have accused the administration of emboldening Iran by refusing to get tough in the face of aggressiveness from Tehran.

According to reports, the White House has backed away from an initial plan to levy new sanctions in retaliation for the missile tests, which are considered to be likely violations of United Nations sanctions.

The nuclear pact places limits on Iran’s ability to build a nuclear weapon in exchange for the lifting of sanctions on its oil and financial sector, which will send billions of dollars to Tehran.

Before sanctions can be lifted against Iran, international inspectors need to certify that Iran has dismantled thousands of centrifuges, reduced its stockpile of uranium and taken other steps to cut off access to a nuclear bomb.

Kerry said on Thursday that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had told him Iran is trying to finalize its obligations “as rapidly as possible.”

Kerry added, “We are currently engaged ourselves in making certain that we’re prepared to move on that day.”

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