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Iran says US hampering its oil industry recovery

Deputy foreign minister claims sanctions removal has freed up $1 billion

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi (YouTube/Press TV/File)
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi (YouTube/Press TV/File)

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi accused the United States of trying to hinder its economic recovery following the removal of sanctions, which he said had freed up some $1 billion in funds.

Araghchi told reporters Saturday night that the US is damaging Iran’s efforts to regain the position in the global oil market that it held before crippling sanctions were imposed over its controversial nuclear development program, according to Walla.

Tehran and six world powers, led by the United States, agreed to a deal in July 2015 under which Iran promised to scale down its nuclear activities in return for the lifting of UN and Western sanctions, including on its lifeblood oil exports.

Removing the restrictions has since thawed some $1 billion in cash, Araghchi said, but noted that “how and where” that money is used depended on “the owners of the money.”

Iran has repeatedly complained that the US is not keeping its side of the bargain to remove sanctions after the nuclear deal.

Last month Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the West of reneging on its commitments in the landmark nuclear deal, maintaining many international companies continue to avoid working with Iran out of fear of the US.

“In the agreement we reached with the Americans on the nuclear issue, the Americans did not deliver on their pledges… Today, all across Western countries and those who are under their impact, our banking restrictions are still facing problems and repatriation of our assets are facing problems,” said Khamenei, according to Press TV on March 20.

Controversy has risen over Iran’s continued testing of ballistic missiles. In March the country’s Revolutionary Guards test-fired two missiles emblazoned with the phrase “Israel must be wiped out” in Hebrew.

After the launches, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Iran to “act with moderation,” while the US ambassador to the United Nations called them “provocative and destabilizing.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry has said the recent tests could trigger additional sanctions, which Israel has lobbied for.

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