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U.S. drops sanctions on three Iranians, says move unrelated to nuclear talks

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By Reuters
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By Daphne Psaledakis and Arshad Mohammed

WASHINGTON -The U.S. Treasury said on Friday it removed sanctions on three Iranians but said this did not reflect a change in its sanctions policy toward Iran and had nothing to do with talks on restoring U.S. and Iranian compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

The Treasury said it had determined Behzad Ferdows, Mehrzad Ferdows and Mohammad Reza Dezfulian are no longer blocked under Executive Order 13382, which targets proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their supporters.

The order froze their U.S. assets and barred U.S. persons from dealing with them. All three were also subject to secondary sanctions, meaning non-U.S. persons who dealt with them risked themselves being sanctioned and cut off from the U.S. market.

Erich Ferrari, an attorney who represented the three in a lawsuit against the Treasury arguing there was “insufficient basis” for their designation, said “there was a dismissal of the claims.” He declined to comment further.

A Treasury spokesperson stressed that the U.S. decision to drop the three from its list of Specially Designated Nationals who are subject to certain U.S. sanctions had nothing to do with indirect talks on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“These delistings do not reflect any change in U.S. government sanctions policy towards Iran. They have nothing to do with ongoing JCPOA negotiations in Vienna,” the spokesperson said on condition of anonymity.

Iran and the United States have been holding indirect talks in Vienna on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers that imposed restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for lifting international sanctions.

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