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U.S. says Iran not yet open for business

Jan. 24, 2014 at 8:36 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Iran's "day may come" but it's not yet time for international companies to re-engage with Iran, the U.S. undersecretary for financial intelligence said.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh courted representatives from the international energy sector during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week. He joined Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, saying Iran was ready for investments now that it's implemented the terms of a multilateral nuclear agreement.

The U.S. government said it would continue enforcing existing sanctions despite the interim deal. David Cohen, U.S. undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, was quoted Thursday by the New York Times as saying it was too early to start investing in Iran.

"Our message to all of these companies [reviewing Iran] is the same: Iran is not open for business," he said. "That day may come, but it's not today."

The European Union eased some of the sanctions targeting Iran's energy sector this week in response to confirmation Iran curbed some of its nuclear program activity according to the terms of an interim deal reached in November with Western powers.

Cohen said the network of sanctions in place is "vast" and "complicated" and much of the Iranian economy is still off limits.

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