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Western Powers Reassure Businesses Over Iran After Sanctions Relief

Western powers that negotiated the Iran nuclear deal say private businesses should not refrain from doing legal business with the Islamic republic, which was under international sanctions for years.

The United States, Britain, France, Germany, and the European Union said in a May 19 statement that Tehran deserves the sanctions relief it secured under last year's landmark nuclear deal, which came into effect in February.

"This includes the reengagement of European banks and businesses in Iran," they said in the joint statement released after talks in Brussels.

The group added that they "will not stand in the way of permitted business activity with Iran."

"And we will not stand in the way of international firms or financial institutions engaging with Iran, as long as they follow all applicable laws," the statement added.

Under the terms of the deal, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions. But Washington has maintained some sanctions in response to Tehran's alleged backing of armed groups in the Middle East and its ballistic-missile program.

Tehran has complained that these sanctions continue to prevent it from benefiting fully from the nuclear deal. Washington says it has abided by its commitments under the accord.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP