Kerry: 'Iran is not open for business'
In remarks meant to dissuade foreign countries from planning trade cooperation with the Islamic Republic, US Secretary of State John Kerry says Iran is not an open market for business.
Addressing US Senators on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Kerry said Washington has sent a clear message to other countries that the sanctions against Iran are in place and have not been weakened by the interim nuclear deal between Tehran and the P5+1.
“We have made it crystal clear that Iran is not open for business,” Kerry said at a US Senate subcommittee hearing. “They (foreign countries) have accepted that. They are not cutting deals.”
“I have been personally in touch with foreign ministers of countries where we have heard there might be a trade delegation,” he added.
Kerry went on to say that Iran needs to make “very tough decisions” to prove the peaceful nature of its nuclear activities. The West accuses Iran of seeking non-civilian objectives in its nuclear program. Iran has denied such allegations.
Kerry’s remarks come after business delegations from a number of countries, including France, recently visited Iran to discuss commercial opportunities in the Islamic Republic.
The visits, which signal a fresh wave of corporate interest in Iran, came after the Islamic Republic and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the United States, China, Russia, France and Britain - plus Germany inked a landmark nuclear deal in the Swiss city of Geneva last November.
Under the deal, which came to force on January 20, the six countries undertook to provide Iran with some sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran agreeing to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities during a six-month period. It was also agreed that no nuclear-related sanctions would be imposed on Iran within the same timeframe.
The two sides are working to hammer out a comprehensive deal following the Geneva accord. They last met in Vienna, Austria, earlier this month.