VIENNA/DUBAI: Iran expects to get a fifth instalment this week of previously blocked overseas funds, a senior official was quoted as saying, a payment that would confirm Tehran’s compliance with an interim deal with world powers to curb its nuclear programme.
Separately, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said “tough issues” faced the Islamic Republic and the six major powers in negotiating a permanent accord to resolve the decade-old nuclear dispute but that it was still possible by a late July deadline. “If it (the negotiation process) goes on with the same trend, the final agreement could be reached within six months,” Rouhani, was quoted by news agency Tasnim as saying at a meeting in a southeastern province late on Tuesday.
Rouhani, whose election last year paved the way for a major thaw in ties with the West, was apparently referring to the goal of hammering out a long-term settlement before the six-month deal struck late last year expires on July 20.
Under the preliminary agreement that took effect on January 20, Iran will receive a total of $4.2bn of blocked funds in eight payments over six months, if it lives up to its part of the deal designed to allay fears about its atomic aims. It says it has already received four transfers in February and March, totalling some $2.1bn. A fifth payment of $450m was due on April 15, contingent on Iran having diluted half of its most sensitive stockpile of nuclear materials.
“We must look and see if it has been done. But it usually takes time for wire transfers to be completed,” Takht-Ravanchi said, noting that Iran’s central bank had no problems in accessing released funds. The United States has estimated that Iran has a total of around $100bn in foreign exchange assets abroad. Reuters