US officials Explain Iran Policy but fail to Persuade

In addition, a spokesman for the Obama administration told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, “Iran has kept its end of the deal, and we have upheld ours and are committed to continuing to do so.” The official added, “Iran is already seeing real benefits from the sanctions lifting that occurred in January — nearly doubling its oil sales, beginning to access funds abroad and starting to reconnect to the international banking sector.”

The official acknowledged, however, that “questions remain” about what foreign companies can and cannot do, which is why “Treasury and State officials have traveled worldwide to meet with government and private sector partners to provide clarity on our sanctions. … While we are committed to providing clarity on the sanctions issues that are within our control, the reality is that there are factors beyond our control that also continue to slow Iran’s economic engagement — including corruption and lack of transparency in its financial and business sectors. These are issues that have nothing to do with sanctions, and Iran has its own work to do to address these and earn the confidence of international companies and financial institutions.”

Iran has acknowledged that it needs to do more to clean up its banking sector, which was saddled with nonperforming loans and other unorthodox transactions under the administration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Visiting Washington in April for the biannual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, the governor of the Iranian Central Bank, Valiollah Seif, told Al-Monitor that Iran has held meetings with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international intergovernmental body based in Paris, to show the steps Iran has taken to counter abuses that FATF cited in designating Iran a high-risk jurisdiction for money laundering and noncooperative in countering financial terrorism.

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