U.S. officials are fanning out across the globe, privately warning international executives not to commit too much as they re-engage with Iran during a temporary easing of sanctions.
The outreach echoes some of the statements U.S. officials have made in recent weeks cautioning about the limited and temporary nature of the sanctions relaxation. In recent days, senior U.S. officials have also started touring global commercial capitals—including London, Paris and Dubai—and meeting executives from blue-chip companies to hammer home the message.
Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said in an interview on Friday that he has personally taken on the issue in meetings with hundreds of American and international business executives in recent weeks. This effort included meetings he held at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last week.
Critics of the agreement, including members of Congress, have complained that Tehran has reaped significant economic benefits from the deal, in addition to the sanctions relief.
They cite the strengthening of Iran's currency, the rial, since the agreement was announced in late November. And outside economic analysts estimate Iran's economic growth is expected to stabilize in the current fiscal year after contracting by 6% during the previous one.
"Iran's economy is showing signs of recovery after years of sanctions, due in no small part to the recent sanctions relief...and a perception that the Obama administration may no longer be committed to ratcheting up the economic pressure," said Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which has advised Congress on Iran sanctions.