Iran says U.S. must encourage banks to do business with it

OSLO (Reuters) - The United States must do more to encourage banks to do business with Iran following the lifting of sanctions, Iran’s foreign minister said on Tuesday, a day before meeting his U.S. counterpart.

The United States and other major powers struck a deal with Tehran in July that lifts some economic sanctions in return for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program.

However, Iranian officials have complained the country is not getting the full economic fruits of the landmark July 14 deal and have urged the United States to do more to clarify the sanctions relief and to encourage commercial deals.

“I believe the United States on paper has removed all the sanctions,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, but Washington needs to do more to remove the “psychological remnants” of measures which had been in place for decades.

“On the banks, I believe it is important for everybody to realise that an agreement will be sustainable if everybody feels they are making gains from the agreement,” he told a news conference with European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

“Its implementation must also be a win-win implementation so that everybody feels there are benefits, there are dividends,” Zarif said.

Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry are to meet in Oslo on Wednesday, a senior U.S. official told reporters in the Dominican Republic, where Kerry is attending a regional meeting.

In Washington, his spokesman suggested Iran must do more to make itself attractive for Western companies, including curbing what Washington sees as its support for terrorism.

“What might help lift some of the psychological remnants ... would be Iran’s ceasing the destabilizing activities that they continue to carry out,” State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

“What makes business reticent isn’t some lack of education or effort by the United States, but when they see missiles being shipped to Hezbollah, missiles being fired at U.S. aircraft carriers, and support to terrorist groups -- that’s what makes business nervous,” he added.

Mogherini said the European Union was engaging with businesses and banks to encourage them to do business in Iran following the signing of the nuclear deal, but cautioned that progress would take time.

“In the first four months this year trade between the European Union and Iran increased by 22 percent,” she said. “We are very actively engaging with the business community and the banks in Europe and elsewhere to encourage engaging in Iran.” (Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammed)