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Banking sanctions take center stage as Iranian rhetoric toughens

There is a strong and shared interest between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and US President Barack Obama that ordinary Iranians imminently see — and feel — in the normalization of Iran’s economic engagement with the world.
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All is not well in post-sanctions Iran. In his first Nowruz message since the signing and implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), President Hassan Rouhani was muted about the sanctions relief. He only used the word “sanctions” twice, and when he did, he merely broadly stated, “Banking, financial, monetary, oil, gas, petrochemical, insurance and transportation sanctions … have been lifted. Conditions for the economic activities of our people have gotten greater and greater."

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is of a different mindset. In his Nowruz speech, in which he referred to “sanctions” at least 28 times, Khamenei stated, “The Americans have said that they would lift sanctions, and they have actually done so on paper, but through other ways and methods, they are acting in a way that the result of sanctions repeal will not be witnessed at all.”

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