Thu Jul 21, 2016 1:44PM
In this January 16, 2016 photo, US Secretary of State John Kerry talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Vienna. ©AFP
In this January 16, 2016 photo, US Secretary of State John Kerry talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Vienna. ©AFP

A senior Russian diplomat says it is “fair” for Iran to reproach the West for dragging its feet in fulfilling its part of last year’s nuclear deal amid Tehran’s complaints that it has not received the promised sanctions relief.

In an interview with Russia’s Interfax news agency, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the removal of anti-Iran economic bans have so far failed to pave the way for the return of international businesses to the Iranian market.

“I won’t hide that the Iranian colleagues, in our view quite fairly, point out that despite the fact that an impressive mass of unilateral US and EU restrictions have been lifted, international business representatives are not in a hurry to return to Iran’s economy,” he added.

The current situation, Ryabkov said, has prompted Iran to reproach the Westerners for the shortfall and urge Washington and the EU to speed up “the explanatory work among commercial structure, with a particular emphasis on what is permitted” under the nuclear agreement.

Last July, a historic nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was inked between Tehran and the P5+1 group of world powers, namely Russia, China, France, Britain, the US and Germany.

The accord, which took effect in January, ended decades of economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program.

However, months into the JCPOA’s implementation, Iran complains that the promised economic benefits have yet to materialize, and that it still does not have access to global financial markets.

Many international banks still shy away from financing trade deals and processing transactions for fear of US penalties.

Tehran has warned it can restore all those aspects of its nuclear program that it has agreed to limit under the deal with the six world powers if the agreement is violated by those countries.

Last month, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with his US counterpart, John Kerry, and urged Washington to show seriousness in encouraging banks to do business with Iran in accordance with the terms of the JCPOA.

Elsewhere in his comments, the Russian official touched on the regular meetings of the JCPOA’s Joint Commission and said the mechanism helps resolve the nuclear deal’s “rough areas,” and all the problematic issues that arise in the implementation process.