A senior Iranian official says the US is terrorizing the Europeans into shunning business with Iran despite the lifting of sanctions under a landmark nuclear deal.
Deputy Petroleum Minister for trade and international affairs Amir Hossein Zamaninia has said US officials are deliberately keeping the terms of engagement with Iran opaque.
As a result, European banks and investors are not clear about how they can operate in Iran without falling foul of US law, he was quoted as saying in remarks published on Monday.
US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) oversees the implementation of American sanctions which have mostly remained in place despite the July nuclear accord.
European banks are not certain as to what OFAC’s decision will be if they get engaged, Zamaninia said. “It’s more of a psychological problem than a legal one,” he told the online news portal Middle East Eye in Tehran.
Many Iranians are disappointed at the results of the nuclear agreement, which they still have to see in their ordinary lives.
OFAC has been refusing to issue licenses for the sale of passenger jets by Airbus and Boeing to Iran which has signed $50 billion worth of deals with the two aviation giants.
In April, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei rebuked the US for “deception” on the nuclear accord.
"On paper the United States allows foreign banks to deal with Iran, but in practice they create Iranophobia so no one does business with Iran," the Leader said.
Zamaninia said while Iran was gradually getting money owed by foreigners to the country or having its assets frozen in foreign banks repatriated, it was having difficulty for new foreign investment and new banking transactions because of US intimidation.
The official said Iran is currently working with a number of mid-level banks.
“I think little by little the major banks will come along sooner rather than later. When the first major bank makes a move, the others will follow,” he said.
Deputy Minister of Industry Mansour Moazami said Iranians expect the US to fulfill its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the nuclear accord is called.
“The increase in foreign investment is below our expectations because the Americans haven’t cooperated. We expect the US to abide by the JCPOA. Our people really expect countries to fulfill their commitments,” he told MEE.
Moazami said the stage was set for foreign investment in Iran, contrasting the country’s peace with insecurity across the region. “Please look at our neighbors. We are at peace. We have good security,” he said.