Obama launches process to relieve Iran sanctions

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Barack Obama formally launched the Iran nuclear deal, ordering officials to prepare to relieve sanctions once Iran implements nuclear restrictions.

In a memorandum sent Sunday to the secretaries of the state, treasury, commerce and energy departments, Obama said that the State Department had already launched some preparations. He ordered the secretaries to take “all appropriate additional measures to ensure the prompt and effective implementation of the U.S. commitments set forth in the” deal reached in July between Iran and six world powers, including the United States.

The actual sanctions relief will take effect “upon confirmation by the Secretary of State that Iran has implemented the nuclear-related measures,” the memorandum said.

That could take place within six months to a year, and includes shutting down 13,000 of the 19,000 uranium-enriching centrifuges and converting a plutonium reactor, among other measures.

Oct. 18, called “Adoption Day,” is when the parties formally implement the deal.

Separately, U.S. officials said Friday that Iran’s recent testing of a ballistic missile violated United Nations resolutions, but also said the testing did not violate the terms of the nuclear deal.

“With respect to Iran, Iran has often violated some of the prohibitions surrounding missile testing,” Obama said Friday at an appearance with South Korean President Park Geun-hye. “And our position with respect to U.N. resolutions, prohibitions, and potential sanctions are unchanged with respect to missile programs.”

Obama continued to say that the test did not violate the Iran deal.

“This is something that I made very clear during the debate around the Iran nuclear deal,” he said. “The Iran nuclear deal solves a specific problem, which is making sure that they don’t possess a nuclear weapon. And it’s our best way to do that. It does not fully resolve the wide range of issues where we’ve got a big difference.”

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