Lifting educational sanctions aimed to boost ties between peoples of Iran and U.S.

Photo: Lifting educational sanctions aimed to boost ties between peoples of Iran and U.S. / Iran

Baku, Azerbaijan, March 22

By Umid Niyayesh - Trend:

The U.S. State Department's Persian-speaking spokesman Alan Eyre said the treasury license on academic exchanges with Iran indicates the commitment of the U.S. to boost friendship and academic relations between the two countries' peoples.

The license will develop academic relations between the two countries, Eyre told Trend on March 22.

Under General License G, issued by the U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control on March 19, the U.S. academic institutions can enter student-exchange agreements with Iranian universities, and provide scholarships to Iranian students seeking to study in the U.S.

The license permits the accredited U.S. universities to export some educational services, including university entrance examinations.

"The U.S. Administration has provided an opportunity for Iranian students seeking to continue their education in the United States academic entities by this license," the spokesman said.

Eyre also emphasized that both Iranian and American peoples will benefit from strengthening cultural and academic ties between the two countries.

Iranian students can also participate in undergraduate level online courses, including Massive Open Online Courses, coursework not part of a degree seeking program, and fee-based courses, according to the U.S. Treasury's License.

On March 20, the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in his own Nowruz message, welcomed in particular the prospect of more educational exchanges between the U.S. and Iran, saying it would "reaffirm our belief that strengthening cultural and academic ties between our two countries benefits our two peoples."

Lifting some limitations against Iranian students, such as unblocking some $400 million in Iranian frozen assets to help pay the costs of Iranian students abroad, was included in the interim Geneva nuclear deal.

Under the deal between Iran and the P5+1 group (five members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) which took effect on Jan. 20, the six major powers agreed to give Iran access to its $4.2 billion in revenues blocked overseas if the country fulfills the deal's terms which offer sanctions relief in exchange for steps on curbing the Iranian nuclear program.

Iran and P5+1 intend to continue their talks to reach a final agreement to fully resolve the decade-old dispute over the Islamic Republic's nuclear energy program.

The U.S. and its Western allies suspect Iran of developing a nuclear weapon - something that Iran denies. The Islamic Republic has on numerous occasions stated that it does not seek to develop nuclear weapons, using nuclear energy for medical research instead.

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