WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – US President Barack Obama said on Friday the Iran nuclear deal has been successful so far but that more work needs to be done to implement the pact and it would take time to reintegrate Iran into the global economy.
Speaking after a meeting of the six world powers that reached the deal with Teheran on July 14 last year, Obama said achieving the agreement was not easy and the way forward would not be either.
“Full and continued implementation is going to take the same kind of cooperation and consultation,” Obama said at the Nuclear Security Summit. “This deal does remind us that when the international community stands as one we can advance our common security.”
Obama said the nuclear agreement, in which world powers eased economic sanctions on Iran, has produced real progress in terms of Teheran taking steps to dismantle its nuclear centrifuges and ship uranium out of the country.
“It will take time for Iran to reintegrate into the global economy but Iran is already beginning to see the benefits of this deal,” Obama said.
Obama’s comments may have been designed in part to allay unhappiness among some Iranian officials who feel the sanctions relief offered under the deal has not paid off quickly enough.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on March 10 said the Iranian economy had not yet benefited from the Western trade delegations visiting Iran, saying: “We are expecting to see some real improvements. Promises on paper have no value.”
One underlying reason for the Iranian frustration is the fact that non-US companies that are now allowed to trade with Iran find they cannot do so without touching the US financial system, which remains off limits.
As a result, the United States is considering easing some sanctions to permit non-American companies to have some access to the US financial system for dollar transactions involving Iran, said a US official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
US Republican lawmakers voiced concern this week about reports that the Obama administration might allow Iran to use the dollar in some business transactions.
US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan on Friday urged Obama to reject any such moves.
“These reports are deeply concerning, to say the least,” he said in a statement. “As Iran continues to undermine the spirit of its nuclear agreement with illicit ballistic missile tests, the Obama administration is going out of its way to help Teheran reopen for business. The President should abandon this idea.”
In his remarks, Obama said the nuclear agreement did not resolve all of Washington’s differences with Iran, including over its support for terrorism, human rights abuses and its ballistic missile programme.
A series of Iranian ballistic missile tests last month conducted drew international concern.
“Except for limited exceptions, the US trade embargo on Iran remains in place,” Obama said.