U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday criticized Iranian leaders for undermining the “spirit” of last year’s historic nuclear agreement, The Hill reported.
In comments following the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, Obama denied speculation that the United States would ease rules preventing dollars from being used in financial transactions with Iran in order to boost the regime’s engagement with the rest of the world.
Instead, Obama claimed, that the Iranian regime’s troubles even after the lifting of sanctions under the nuclear deal were due to its continued support of Hezbollah, ballistic missile tests and other aggressive behavior.
“Iran so far has followed the letter of the agreement, but the spirit of the agreement involves Iran also sending signals to the world community and businesses that it is not going to be engaging in a range of provocative actions that are going to scare businesses off,” Obama said at a press conference.
“When they launch ballistic missiles with slogans calling for the destruction of Israel, that makes businesses nervous.”
“Iran has to understand what every country in the world understands, which is businesses want to go where they feel safe, where they don’t see massive controversy, where they can be confident that transactions are going to operate normally,” he added. “And that’s an adjustment that Iran’s going to have to make as well.”
Despite the lifting of sanctions, American companies are still banned from doing business in Iran and foreign banks are prohibited from using the U.S. dollar for their Iranian dealings. Earlier this week, multiple reports indicated that the White House was considering easing financial rules to let foreign companies use the dollar to do business with Iran. But on Friday, Obama appeared to shoot the idea down.
“That’s not actually the approach that we’re taking,” he said.