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Treasury secretary says US financial system will stay closed to Iran

US refusal to allow “U-turn transactions” involving the US dollar undermines sanctions relief for Iran.
EDITORS' NOTE: Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on leaving the office to report, film or take pictures in Tehran.

An Iranian man walks past a currency exchange shop in northern Tehran January 3, 2012. The Iranian rial fell to a record low against the dollar on Tuesday following U.S. President Barack Obama signing a bill on  imposing fresh sanctions against the country's central bank.   REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl (IRAN - Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS) - RTR2VU6Z

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said April 11 that the United States “will keep our part of the bargain” in providing sanctions relief to Iran in return for curbs on its nuclear program, but that the Barack Obama administration would not allow even limited access to the US financial system.

Lew’s comments, in response to a question from Al-Monitor at the Council on Foreign Relations, deepened uncertainty about how Iran will be able to conduct international trade and access hard currency reserves, primarily in Asian banks, that had been frozen under US sanctions until implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in January.

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