Hassan Rouhani: Pushing to Free Iran From U.S. Restrictions

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President Hassan Rouhani of Iran will be on a mission at the General Assembly that could have a bearing on whether he keeps his job: getting the United States to stop blocking bank transactions with Iran.

The historic agreement between his country and the United States and other world powers over Iran’s disputed nuclear work was supposed to bring an end to sanctions, including financial restrictions. While Iran has been successful in selling its oil, United States banking restrictions that predate the nuclear dispute have obstructed increased trade between Iran and its European business partners.

Scared off by penalties imposed by the United States Treasury Department, European banks have not provided credit for large-scale projects in Iran. In fact, because of the American regulations, it remains nearly impossible for ordinary businesses to transfer money to and from Iran — a problem that has been enormously frustrating to Mr. Rouhani, who promoted the nuclear agreement by promising a new economic era.

Mr. Rouhani faces an election in five months, and his hard-line opponents are sharpening their knives. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, has been hinting in speeches that he considers the nuclear deal to be a failure.

With his political future at risk, Mr. Rouhani is expected to lobby other heads of state to put more pressure on the Americans. Because there are still no diplomatic relations between the United States and Iran, he is not expected to speak with President Obama directly.

Mr. Rouhani’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, who speaks to his American counterpart, Secretary of State John Kerry, has already called for a special meeting of all the parties involved in the nuclear agreement, on the sidelines of the General Assembly.

FAR Law Firm

 

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