Kerry and Zarif meet over sanctions

The Obama administration has met its sanctions relief obligations to Iran under last year’s landmark nuclear deal but is willing to further clarify what is and isn’t allowed in response to renewed Iranian complaints that it’s not getting all the benefits it deserves, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday. Speaking after meeting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Oslo, Kerry said the administration had lived up to both the letter and the spirit of the agreement and had gone the extra mile to explain to foreign firms what they are now permitted to do. “We have lifted the sanctions we said we would lift and we have completely kept faith with both the black-and-white print as well as the spirit of this effort,” Kerry said. “In fact, I have personally gone beyond the absolute requirements of the lifting of sanctions to personally engage with banks and businesses and others who have a natural reluctance after several years of sanctions to move without fully understanding what they are allowed to do and what they are not allowed to do.” The meeting, at which Kerry also raised the importance of Iran influencing Syria’s government to ensure humanitarian aid deliveries and respect a fragile truce, came just a day after Iran’s supreme leader and Zarif renewed accusations that the U.S. is not living up to its commitment to ease sanctions under the agreement that gave Iran the relief in exchange for curbing its nuclear program”.

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