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Iran to keep independence, step up interactions: Rafsanjani

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Chairman of Iran’s Expediency Council Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani

Chairman of Iran’s Expediency Council Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani says the country will robustly tread the path of independence and interaction in its relations with the international community.

“Iran is determined to strongly and powerfully continue with its independent policies by relying on [the Iranian] people and domestic capabilities under all circumstances while seeking to interact and cooperate with the international community,” Rafsanjani said in address to an Expediency Council session on Saturday.

He pointed to the recent talks between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry in New York and said, “Apparently, some issues and obstacles created in the way of banking transactions and trade exchanges of Europe … with Iran have been removed.”

He also expressed hope that Iranian banking officials would face no obstacle in international trade exchanges and that no problem would arise for foreign banks and institutions seeking to do business with Iran.

Speaking to reporters on Friday before meeting with the Iranian foreign minister, Kerry said Washington is not opposed to foreign banks doing business with Iran following a landmark nuclear agreement reached between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries last July. 

US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) speaks to the media as he meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on April 22, 2016, in New York. (AP photo)

Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, France, Britain, China and Russia – plus Germany started implementing the nuclear agreement, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), on January 16.

Under the JCPOA, all nuclear-related sanctions imposed on Iran by the European Union, the Security Council and the US would be lifted. Iran has, in return, put some limitations on its nuclear activities.

Iran says the US is impeding European financial transactions with Iran and refusing to remove all nuclear-related sanctions against the country and is therefore not fully committing its side of the deal. 

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