US begins easing economic sanctions on Iran
The US on Monday started to ease some of the economic sanctions on Iran after the Islamic republic took "concrete actions" in curbing its controversial nuclear programme.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has approved waivers, offering limited sanction relief on Iran's oil exports, financial transactions and trade in gold and precious metals, among others, Xinhua quoted the US State Department as saying.
The US has taken the steps to pause efforts to further reduce Iranian crude oil exports, allowing the six current customers of Iranian oil to maintain their purchases at current reduced levels for six-month duration of an interim deal on Iran's nuclear programme, it said.
Washington is working with its partners and Tehran to establish financial channels to enable Iran to make payments for humanitarian transactions and medical expenses, university tuition payments for Iranian students studying abroad, and the payment of Iran's UN obligations, the State Department said in a statement.
The US also took measures to suspend for the six- month duration sanctions on non-US people engaged in transactions related to Iran's petrochemical exports, certain trade in gold and precious metals with Iran, and the provision of goods and services to Iran's automotive sector.
In addition, the US will license transactions for spare parts, inspections, and associated services necessary for safety of flight for certain Iranian aviation.
Monday's measures have been taken in reciprocation for Iran's " concrete actions" to implement the interim deal reached in November between Iran and the six world powers -- the US, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany, the White House said.
Iran has stopped producing 20 percent enriched uranium, disabled the configuration of the centrifuge cascades, begun diluting its existing stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium, and not installed additional centrifuges at Natanz or Fordow, White House spokesman Jay Carney said, citing written verification from the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Iran's actions represent "an important step forward" in halting its nuclear programme, Carney said in a statement.