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Kerry and Zarif Met Behind Closed Doors

24 Apr., 2016

Two years ago, it was hard to believe that foreign ministers of the United States and Iran would meet soon; however, Mohammad Javad Zarif goes to New York at the excuse of attending an international event but met his American counterpart. This is, of course, a positive development in diplomacy, but it was affected by negative developments. Iranian authorities are not happy with the measures the U.S. has so far taken to lift sanctions; and that is why they have complained about the situation in the recent weeks. Last week, the Iranian Central Bank governor, Valiollah Seif, also had a visit to the US to meet the secretary of treasury. Seif made a controversial speech there, criticizing the double standard behavior of Washington against Tehran in regard with the sanctions.

Iranians argue that financial sanctions still persist, despite the U.S.’s promise to remove them all after the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). In fact, American and multinational banks and financial institutions fear that they might be subject of U.S. punishments if they start cooperating with Iranian banks. Iranians complain that U.S. officials do not try to help assure multinational banks that there is no risk in having relations with Iran’s banks.
The current conditions are against Iran’s, and especially the Rouhani administration’s interests. Since mid-January, President Hassan Rouhani and his men have been trying hard to persuade rival groups in Tehran, who believe it was a bad deal with the U.S. and other world powers on the nuclear energy dossier. The recent move of the national television against the Rouhani administration and other political development in the country prove that the rightist wing has been planning to manipulate the public opinion in their own favor ahead of the next presidential elections, especially that the economic situation has not yet changed in a positive way. Although the anti-Rouhani campaign did not respond as expected by the conservatives in the big cities during the parliamentary elections held in February, it could gain a momentum in the coming months.

For certain, Mr. Zarif has recently said John Kerry that the U.S. policy is indirectly affecting the political situation in Iran as sanctions are still in place. The Rouhani administration correctly knows that time is against them as the public is frustrated over difficult economic situations. Citizens expect sanctions to be lifted immediately. If the problems continue to persist, Rouhani’s rival groups could win the support of the public opinion against the administration.

The point is the situation is the same in America as well, as some groups have been trying to damage the JCPOA. These groups are pushing President Barak Obama to make very conservative policies against Iran. One of the main requests of the Iranian government is to have access to a U.S. dollar-based system to interact with other countries, a point which seems to have been ignored in the nuclear deal. However, Iranians hope to persuade American authorities to let Iran enjoy the system. Undoubtedly, the American authorities are aware of the consequences of their policies on the moderate administration of President Rouhani.


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