Iran calls for US to ease banking restrictions

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's foreign minister on Saturday called on the United States to ease restrictions on non-American banks doing business with the Islamic Republic, saying it would help reassure Iranians over last year's nuclear deal.

"Iran will definitely put pressure on the United States to pave the way for the cooperation of non-American banks with Iran," Mohammad Javad Zarif said during a press conference with visiting EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

"The other party, particularly the United States, is required to implement its commitments in banking cooperation," he said, referring to the historic agreement, which lifted sanctions on Iran in return for it curbing its nuclear activities.

Zarif added that the "Iranian people should feel results from the nuclear deal."

Tehran has accused the U.S. and the European Union of keeping Iran locked out of the international financial system despite the deal.

But Mogherini said "we can reassure our financial sector and our banking system on the fact that we would welcome very much on the European side their engagement in Iran, as this would constitute a good basis for our economic cooperation."

Both officials said they were open to discussing human rights issues, without elaborating.

"Our approach to human rights is based on probably the highest standards and we will never compromise on that. But the second element for our approach to human rights is always engagement in dialogue," Mogherini said.

Zarif said Iran is "ready for dialogue."