NUCLEAR DEAL : Biden REMOVES some Iran sanctions imposed by Trump – including unfreezing $29B in bank accounts overseas
The US State Department is waiving sanctions on Iran’s civilian nuclear program in the hope that Tehran will return to the 2015 nuclear agreement, a senior official said Friday.
As U.S. negotiators head back to Vienna for what could be a make-or-break session, Secretary of State Antony Blinken signed several sanctions waivers related to Iran’s civilian nuclear activities. The move reverses the Trump administration’s decision to rescind them.
The waivers are intended to entice Iran to return to compliance with the 2015 deal that it has been violating since former President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement in 2018 and re-imposed U.S. sanctions.
The removal of sanctions would see the release of Iran’s frozen funds held abroad, estimated at some $29 billion about a one third of what’s held abroad by the country.
Iran would once against be allowed to trade with the rest of the world use global banking systems such as SWIFT to wire money.
Sanctions against exports of Iranian oil would also be removed. Foreign firms would once again be allowed to invest in Iran’s commodities of oil and gas, automobiles, hotels and other sectors.
So far, three negotiators on the U.S. team have resigned. In January Richard Nephew stepped down as deputy special envoy for Iran and left the U.S. team negotiating Iran’s return to the 2015 nuclear deal because he believed the there was no future for the agreement.
Two other officials have also left the negotiating team in recent months, including Ariane Tabatabai, a senior adviser in the State Department arms control bureau.
Iran says it is not respecting the terms of the deal because the U.S. pulled out of it first. Iran has demanded the restoration of all sanctions relief it was promised under the deal to return to compliance.
Earlier this week it was revealed how Iran’s nuclear program was on the verge of producing enough fuel for a nuclear bomb in just a matter of weeks and could have a device built in less than a year, according to an estimate by US officials.
Iran’s ‘breakout time’ – the time it would take to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for one nuclear weapon – is believed to have advanced greatly after Donald Trump withdrew the US from a deal with the country in 2018, officials claim.
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