US: Partial sanctions relief ‘economically insignificant’ for Iran
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US: Partial sanctions relief ‘economically insignificant’ for Iran

Islamic Republic in such deep recession that eased measures will give little boost to country's economic performance, says treasury official

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, left, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, center, and US Secretary of State John Kerry attend a ceremony after an agreement was reached on Iran's nuclear program at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Nov. 24, 2013. (photo credit: AP/Keystone/Martial Trezzini)
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, left, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, center, and US Secretary of State John Kerry attend a ceremony after an agreement was reached on Iran's nuclear program at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Nov. 24, 2013. (photo credit: AP/Keystone/Martial Trezzini)

The partial easing of sanctions as part of the interim deal signed between Iran and world powers in Geneva on Sunday is not set to significantly affect the Iranian economy .

According to a US Treasury source quoted by AFP on Monday, Iran’s economy is in such deep recession that the influx of funds will hardly boost the hard-hit country after years of international sanctions.

“In relation to the depth of the economic distress that Iran is currently facing, this package is really quite modest and economically insignificant,” the official said in a briefing on Monday.

“It will not move the needle” in terms of the country’s economic performance, AFP quoted him as saying.

The US reportedly unfroze some $8 billion in Iranian assets shortly after the deal was inked.

The Treasury official also warned that most of the sanctions mechanism remains in place and the newly signed deal was not a license to freely engage in business activities with the Islamic Republic.

“Any business, any bank, any broker, anybody who thinks it’s open season to go into Iran today, I think is sorely mistaken. We will enforce these sanctions,” the official said.

“The size of this deal is just not economically significant to Iran,” the official said.

“The vast bulk of our sanctions that we have built up over time all remain in place. We’ll be continuing to apply the pressure on Iranians just as we have in the past.”

The weekend agreement between Iran and the P5+1 countries — the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany — is to temporarily halt parts of Tehran’s disputed nuclear program and allow for more intrusive international monitoring of its facilities. In exchange, Iran gets some modest sanctions relief and a promise from President Barack Obama that no new economic penalties will be levied during the terms of the six-month deal.

Congress has remained split on the issue of new sanctions since the Geneva deal was announced in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The US Senate is set to discuss the matter after the Thanksgiving break.

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