Iran seeks meeting of nuke deal powers to protest US sanctions
Iran formally requested a meeting of the commission that oversees its nuclear deal with world powers to complain about the renewing of sanctions by the United States, state television reported on Saturday.
The request was made in a letter by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to the European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, calling for “a meeting of the joint commission outlined in the nuclear deal... regarding the recent actions of the United States.”
On Thursday, Washington extended the Iran Sanctions Act – which mostly seeks to limit Iran’s oil and gas trade – for another decade.
Although it received overwhelming support from the US Congress, the act will have no effect since its measures are suspended as long as the nuclear deal remains in place.
US President Barack Obama has said that renewing the act was pointless, and symbolically allowed it to become law without signing it, although he denied it was a breach of the nuclear deal which came into effect last January.
Iranian leaders, including supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani, disagree, calling it a “clear violation”.
The nuclear deal allows for the signatories – Iran, the US, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia – to hold a “joint commission” to discuss claims of a violation.
Iran has been frustrated by the limited economic benefits of the accord, which removed many international sanctions in exchange for curbs to its nuclear programme.
Although it has managed to significantly ramp up its oil exports, Tehran has struggled to rejoin the international financial system because Washington has maintained a raft of other sanctions related to non-nuclear issues that have helped deter major Western banks from returning to Iran.