Middle East

US finds peeling back the Iran sanctions onion no easy task

FILE - In this Feb. 5, 2015 file photo, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Obama administration will almost certainly have to backtrack on a promise to suspend only nuclear-related economic sanctions against Iran as part of an emerging nuclear deal, as it wends its way through a briar patch of interwoven economic penalties against the Islamic Republic, officials and others involved in the process tell The Associated Press.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

FILE – In this Feb. 5, 2015 file photo, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Obama administration will almost certainly have to backtrack on a promise to suspend only nuclear-related economic sanctions against Iran as part of an emerging nuclear deal, as it wends its way through a briar patch of interwoven economic penalties against the Islamic Republic, officials and others involved in the process tell The Associated Press. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. may have to backtrack on promises to suspend only nuclear-related economic sanctions on Iran in an emerging nuclear deal.

Officials and others involved say the problem derives from what has been a strong point of the sanctions effort that many credit with pushing Iran into negotiations. Under the sanctions, developed over decades, hundreds of companies and people have been penalized not only for participating in Iran’s nuclear program — but also for missile research, terrorism, rights violations and money laundering.

The U.S. insists those other penalties would remain. But as the Obama administration wends its way through the briar patch of interwoven sanctions, separating each category is proving difficult. And Washington must find a formula to deliver its end of the bargain: Billions of dollars in sanctions relief.

 

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