US drops sanctions on Iranian officials as nuclear talks stall

US drops sanctions on Iranian officials as nuclear talks stall
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The U.S. lifted some sanctions on Iran on Thursday as it seeks to find a way forward in negotiations to rejoin the multilateral 2015 Iran nuclear agreement.

The sanctions were lifted on companies that ship and trade petrochemical products, along with former senior National Iranian Oil Co. officials, the Treasury Department said, according to The Wall Street Journal.

There is “absolutely no connection” between lifting these sanctions and the negotiations, said Ned Price, State Department spokesperson.

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“These actions demonstrate our commitment to lifting sanctions in the event of a change in status or behavior by sanctioned persons,” Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenKuwaiti government bans unvaccinated citizens from traveling outside country Swastika found carved in State Department elevator Biden should reconsider planned reversal of bipartisan US policy on Jerusalem MORE said.

The drop of sanctions comes as the U.S., Chinese, European and Iranian negotiators are set to restart negotiations this weekend on the Obama-era nuclear deal, as announced by Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman on Wednesday

"This is not a wider easing of sanctions on the oil sector of Iran,” a Treasury official said of the sanctions.

On the same day some sanctions were lifted, the U.S. announced others on an international network that has connections with Iran and Houthi rebels.

The talks could also be affected by news of Russia giving Iran an advanced satellite system that will increase Iran’s military spying capabilities, as well as Iran sending two of its ships across the Atlantic with an unannounced destination.