News / Middle East

Lew: Iran Economy Remains Distressed Amid Sanctions

FILE - US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.
FILE - US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.
Reuters
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said Iran's economy remained in a state of distress due to sanctions over its nuclear program and that the United States would not rush into making a bad deal to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
 
Lew said that the temporary and reversible sanctions relief has been limited.
 
“Iran is losing a significant amount in oil sales alone from the sanctions that remain in place, more than the value of the temporary relief,” Lew said in a speech in Jerusalem to the U.S.-Israel Joint Economic Development Group on Wednesday.
 
“As we approach the last month of the agreed upon period for negotiations, Iran's economy remains in a state of distress that brought the government to the negotiating table in the first place,” he said.
 
Such sustained pressure gives the United States the opportunity to pursue a negotiated agreement with Iran, in conjunction with its P5+1 partners, that will assure the international community that Iran's nuclear program is entirely peaceful, Lew said.
 
“We will take the time to do this right, and we will not rush into a bad deal,” he said. “No deal is better than a bad deal.”
 
Iran and six world powers re-launched talks on Tuesday to try to salvage a deal on its nuclear activity by a July deadline, striving to prevent a long-time standoff from descending into a wider Middle East war.
 
Israel has been concerned that the powers have not done enough to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
 
Israel also has voiced concern about the prospect of its closest ally, the United States, cooperating with what it considers its deadliest foe, Iran, to stave off a sectarian break-up of Iraq.
 
Lew said the United States was concerned about the “grave situation” in Iraq.
 
“As the president makes a decision on next steps, let me be clear that this is not primarily a military challenge,” he said, noting the United States has steadily increased security assistance to the Iraqi government over the past year,” he said.
 
“While it is evident that Iraq needs significantly more help to break the momentum of extremist groups and bolster the capabilities of Iraqi security forces, there is no military solution that will solve Iraq's problems,” he continued.
 
Any action the United States takes would have to be done in conjunction with a serious and sincere effort by Iraqi leaders to govern in a non-sectarian manner, promote stability and unity among a diverse population, build and invest in the capacity of security forces, and address the legitimate grievances of Sunni, Kurd, and Shia communities, Lew said.
 
Lew also expressed optimism about the U.S. economic recovery, which is in its fifth year.
 
“After a harsh winter that restrained growth in the first quarter, we are still expecting the underlying strength of the economy that was evident last year to result in a strong second half of this year, and economic data over the past three months supports that optimism,” he said.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Srebrenica Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs