US President Barack Obama has called on world powers to carry out their end of the Iran nuclear deal, urging them to allow companies to do business with the Islamic Republic.
“So long as Iran is carrying out its end of the bargain, we think it is important for the world community to carry out our end of the bargain,” Obama said Friday after a nuclear security summit with other world leaders.
A series of economic sanctions on Iran was lifted in mid-January after the nuclear deal it had reached with the P5+1, the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany, was eventually implemented.
Although the removal of the sanctions has so far best manifested itself in a rise in the country’s oil sales as well as orders for purchases of planes, international businesses are still cautious about doing business with Iran, concerned that they could fall afoul of continuing US sanctions on Tehran.
Obama said Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and his counterparts within the P5+1 group would be “providing clarity to businesses about what transactions are in fact allowed.”
However, he said it would take time for foreign companies to feel confident about working with their Iranian counterparts.
“It is going to take time over the next several months for companies and their legal department to feel confident… there may not be risks of liability if they do business with Iran.”
Obama repeated his rhetoric against Iran, saying Tehran should avoid any provocative action that could dissuade foreign companies from cooperating with the Iranian ones.
“The spirit of the agreement involves Iran also sending signals to the world community of businesses that it is not going to be engaging in a range of provocative action that might scare business off,” he stated.
“What I would say is also important is Iran’s own behavior in generating confidence that Iran is a safe place to do business,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Obama acknowledged that the Iran nuclear deal has been successful so far, but emphasized that more work still needs to be done to implement the agreement.
Global enterprises are still complaining that trade with Iran is still difficult as a result of lingering fears of US punitive actions.
According to business leaders, a key obstacle which is specifically affecting business with Iran is the unwillingness of international banks to process transactions with the country.
US banks are still forbidden to do business with Iran and while lenders based elsewhere are not covered by this ban, major problems remain, emphasized the report. Chief among these are rules prohibiting transactions in dollars from being processed through the US financial system.