Iran says nuclear talks stalled over sanctions pre-dating Trump’s presidency, Middle East News & Top Stories

TEHERAN (BLOOMBERG) – Iran said the United States had agreed to lift sanctions on Iran’s oil industry and banks but the main issues stalling efforts by world powers to revive the nuclear deal are linked to penalties that go back to 2015, during negotiations over the original landmark accord.

Mr Mahmoud Vaezi, President Hassan Rouhani’s chief of staff, told reporters that the US had agreed in principle to lift “all of the economic sanctions” that were reimposed and added by former president Donald Trump after he exited the deal in 2018, including those on Iran’s energy, petrochemicals, banking and steel sectors.

The comments come a day before a deadline on Iran’s agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency over nuclear inspections is set to expire and as the Rouhani government prepares to hand over to President-elect Ebrahim Raisi, a hardline cleric who was also personally sanctioned by Mr Trump.

“All areas, from insurance to oil and shipping, have been agreed upon and about 1,040 sanctions from the Trump era will be lifted, according to this agreement,” Mr Vaezi told reporters after a Cabinet meeting with Mr Rouhani on Wednesday (June 23).

Mr Vaezi also said there was an agreement with the US to lift “a number of sanctions on individuals”, including people close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but he did not give details or specify whether they included Mr Raisi.

In a separate statement, Mr Vaezi also condemned the US Federal Bureau of Investigation for seizing a number of news websites run by Iran’s state broadcaster on Tuesday, including the English-language Press TV.

“This bogus US policy is not constructive while nuclear deal negotiations are under way,” Mr Vaezi said. “Iran will certainly retaliate in case there are similar examples from their side in Iran. We will use every legal and international tool to retaliate.”