US waives oil trade sanctions to give Iran limited access to frozen assets

The US State Department has reportedly informed Congress of its decision to waive sanctions on Iran’s oil trade so that Tehran can pay off its debts to Japanese and Korean exporters from its frozen funds, without being able to transfer the funds to the country.

14 July 2021
ID : 32943
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The US State Department has reportedly informed Congress of its decision to waive sanctions on Iran’s oil trade so that Tehran can pay off its debts to Japanese and Korean exporters from its frozen funds, without being able to transfer the funds to the country.

A man walks past a mural painted on the outer walls of the former US embassy in Tehran. Photo: AFP

The US State Department has reportedly informed Congress of its decision to waive sanctions on Iran’s oil trade so that Tehran can pay off its debts to Japanese and Korean exporters from its frozen funds, without being able to transfer the funds to the country.

According to a notification sent to Congress by the State Department, the waiver, signed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, allows the “transfer of Iranian funds in restricted accounts to exporters in Japan and the Republic of Korea,” the Washington Free Beacon reported.

The waiver said that allowing the funds to be used to “repay exporters in these jurisdictions will make those entities whole with respect to the goods and services they exported to Iran [and] address a recurring irritant in important bilateral relationships.”

It would also “decrease Iran’s foreign reserves,” the waiver added.

Blinken signed the sanctions waiver to give Japan and Korea another 90-days to complete transactions with Iran, a State Department spokesperson said.

“The secretary of state previously signed a waiver to allow funds held in restricted Iranian accounts in Japan and Korea to be used to pay back Japanese and Korean companies that exported non-sanctioned items to Iran,” the spokesperson said.

“These repayment transactions can sometimes be time-consuming, and the secretary extended the waivers for another 90 days.”

The waiver comes during an almost one-month pause in the talks in Vienna to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which the former US administration of Donald Trump ditched in 2018 and reimposed sanctions mainly targeting Iran’s oil sector.

The restoration of the deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is expected to be faced with strong opposition by the Republicans in Congress, who mostly backed Trump’s withdrawal from the deal and his so-called maximum pressure campaign against Iran.

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