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January 12, 2017 3:55 pm

Islamic Republic Official Says US Promised Sanctions Extension Would Not Harm Iranian Economy

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

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Behrouz Kamalvandi. spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. Photo: Screenshot.

Behrouz Kamalvandi. spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. Photo: Screenshot.

America promised the Islamic Republic earlier this week that the 10-year extension of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) that was recently passed would have “no real impact” on the Iranian economy, an official in Tehran said on Thursday.

“US officials pledged that ISA would not have practical consequences in terms of hitting Iran’s economy and the incipient modest economic openings post-JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action),” Behrouz Kamalvandi — spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran — was quoted by the semi-official state news agency Mehr as saying on Thursday.

At a Vienna meeting of the Joint Commission (the international body tasked with overseeing the implementation of the 2015 nuclear deal) earlier this week, Iran did not trigger a dispute mechanism over the ISA extension.

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“Iran explained its concern on the extension of the Iran Sanctions Act…as being a reintroduction of sanctions,” Reuters quoted top Iranian nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi as saying. “I think the Joint Commission took Iran’s concern very seriously.”

On Monday, it was reported that the US and five other world powers who were party to the nuclear deal had approved a Russian shipment of 116 metric tons of natural uranium to Iran.

The fate of the nuclear deal after President-elect Donald Trump takes office on Jan. 20 remains unclear.

In a pre-election interview with The Algemeiner in early November, senior Trump adviser David Friedman — who has since been picked to serve as the next US ambassador to Israel — said a Trump administration would “reengage with the world powers in a way that seeks to reintroduce leverage on Iran.”

Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “I look forward to speaking to [President-elect Donald Trump] about what to do about this bad deal.”

“Now, I opposed the deal because it doesn’t prevent Iran from getting nukes,” Netanyahu explained. “It paves the way for Iran to get nuclear weapons. The problem isn’t so much that Iran will break the deal, but that Iran will keep it because it just can walk in within a decade, and even less, and certainly within 12 years, it can just walk in to industrial-scale enrichment of uranium to make the core for an arsenal of nuclear weapons.”

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