US lifts some sanctions targeting Iran’s energy sector

The United States has dropped a raft of sanctions targeting Iran’s energy sector in what a senior administration official described as evidence of Washington’s “goodwill approach.”

Anthony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, said Thursday that Washington has lifted sanctions on three former Iranian government officials and two companies previously involved in Iran’s petrochemical sector as a result of a “verified change in status or behavior by the sanctioned parties.” “.

“These actions demonstrate our commitment to lifting sanctions in the event of a change in status or behavior by the sanctioned persons,” he said in a statement. statement.

Oil prices temporarily fell more than 2 percent after the announcement, but quickly regained their losses, with Brent crude settling 0.4 percent at $72.52 a barrel on the day.

The decision marks the first time that the Biden administration has eased any sanctions against it Iran. In 2018, Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal that imposed limits on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

The Trump administration has embarked on a maximum pressure campaign against Iran that has grown to include more than 1,000 additional sanctions on the country.

The Biden administration is seeking to re-enter nuclear deal It embarked on several rounds of indirect negotiations with Iran in Vienna, although it has not yet made any progress. Tehran has repeatedly demanded that Washington lift sanctions before it agrees to curb its nuclear programme. Since the Trump administration withdrew from the deal, Iran has violated major restrictions on its nuclear production worry at the International Atomic Energy Agency of the United Nations.

Among the people removed from the US Treasury Department’s list of Specially Designated Citizens on Thursday were former senior US State Department officials. Iranian National Oil Company Companies and groups that have supported the sanctioned petrochemical sector. The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control places individuals and entities on this list for national security, foreign policy, and sanctions policy objectives.

A senior administration official told the Financial Times that the decision to remove some entities from the extensive US sanctions regime was made after Iranian entities requested a professionally executed review.

While the official said the removal was not related to the ongoing efforts at the Vienna talks, he did show that the United States “can act in good faith.”

“if [the Iranians] Take it as evidence that the entity that is subject to sanctions can also be unpunished, it will be right – sanctions are not life imprisonment, it is a punishment based on party behavior,” the official said.

This indicates that this management. . . Sanctions will be lifted where appropriate.”

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