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Iran’s foreign minister: Business ties will prevent return of sanctions

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's top nuclear negotiator, addresses an open session of the parliament in Tehran on July 21.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, addresses an open session of the parliament in Tehran on July 21.

(Vahid Salemi / Associated Press)

Iran’s foreign minister told the parliament Tuesday that the surge of foreign businesses into the country would make it difficult for the United Nations to restore sanctions, an option provided under the nuclear deal with six world powers.

Seeking to sell the deal to the conservative-dominated Majlis, Mohammad Javad Zarif told Iranian lawmakers that the “swarming of business for reinvesting their money is the biggest barrier for such an action.”

American officials have been “very concerned about this,” he said.

The deal, announced last week, would lift international sanctions on Iran if it accepts restrictions aimed at preventing Tehran from obtaining a nuclear bomb. The agreement sets up a mechanism that would restore sanctions if the Iranians are caught cheating.

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But Zarif argued that the six world powers -- the United States, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia -- would hesitate to seek renewed sanctions if the move cut off new and lucrative business ties to the Iranian market.

A business delegation from Germany is scheduled to visit Tehran this month, as is French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

Zarif sought to reassure the Majlis that sanctions can be restored only for a major breach of the deal and not for a small infraction.

Iranian lawmakers agreed to delay their vote on the agreement for at least 80 days, while a committee studies its contents.

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The delay would help ensure that the United States would get the blame for an Iranian rejection of the deal if Congress votes its own disapproval after its 60-day deliberation period.

Special correspondent Mostaghim reported from Tehran and Times staff writer Richter from Washington.

Follow @richtpau on Twitter for foreign policy news.

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