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US lifts sanctions against Iranian energy sector

The United States has dropped a handful of sanctions targeting Iran’s energy sector, which a senior administration official called evidence of Washington’s “good faith approach”.

Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, said Thursday that Washington was lifting sanctions against three former Iranian government officials and two companies previously involved in Iran’s petrochemical industry following “a verified change in the status or behavior of the share of sanctioned parties ”.

“These actions demonstrate our commitment to lift the sanctions in the event of a change in the status or behavior of those sanctioned,” he said in a statement.

Oil prices momentarily fell more than 2% after the announcement, but quickly regained losses, with Brent crude settling 0.4% to $ 72.52 per barrel that day.

The move marks the first time the Biden administration has relaxed sanctions against Iran. In 2018, Donald Trump withdrew the United States from a 2015 multi-party nuclear pact that imposed limits on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for easing sanctions.

The Trump administration waged a campaign of maximum pressure against Iran that extended to more than 1,000 additional sanctions against the country.

The Biden administration is seeking to re-enter the nuclear pact and has embarked on several rounds of indirect negotiations with Iran in Vienna, although it has yet to make any breakthroughs. Tehran has repeatedly called on Washington to lift sanctions before agreeing to curb its nuclear program. Since the Trump administration withdrew from the deal, Iran has violated key limits on its nuclear production, prompting concern from the UN nuclear watchdog.

Among those removed from the US Treasury’s specially designated national list on Thursday were former senior officials of the Iranian National Oil Company and groups that supported the sanctioned petrochemical industry. The US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control places individuals and entities on this list for national security, foreign policy, and sanctions policy purposes.

A senior administration official told the Financial Times that the decision to remove certain entities from the broad U.S. sanctions regime was taken after Iranian entities requested a review that was professionally carried out.

Although the official said the pullout was unrelated to continued efforts in the Vienna talks, it showed that the United States “could act in good faith.”

“Yes [the Iranians] consider it as proof that an entity that is sanctioned may also not be, then it will be right – being sanctioned is not a life sentence, it is a sentence based on the behavior of the party ”, he said. declared the responsible.

“It shows that this administration. . . lift sanctions when justified.

Marsh Notes

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