From Power Line Blog – The AP has just broken the story by Bradley Klapper and Matt Lee regarding the prospective unraveling of the sanctions regime in its entirety. Their story is “US finds peeling back the Iran sanctions onion no easy task.” It’s an important story and Omri Ceren has written to comment on it as follows:
There’s a lot going on in this piece, it’s 1,100 words, and it gets highly technical very early. But it’s also functionally an exposé of how the Obama administration is going to shred the entire sanctions regime despite having promised lawmakers the exact opposite, and so the story will rightly be driving the discussion for the next couple of days at least.
Background — Throughout the P5+1 negotiations, but especially since Lausanne, the Obama administration has declared to lawmakers and reporters that the final deal will only lift nuclear-related sanctions on Iran. The talking point was a huge part of their immediate post-Lausanne media strategy. The April 2 factsheet they circulated stated “U.S. sanctions on Iran for terrorism, human rights abuses, and ballistic missiles will remain in place under the deal.” Since then the assurance has become even more central to their media strategy. It’s the overarching argument they use to respond to Congressional and Arab worries that the nuclear deal will empower Iran to become a regional hegemon capable of threatening American national interests and global security. The precise wording differs from presser to presser and interview to interview, but it’s usually something like ‘our problems with Iran go way beyond the nuclear issue, and in the aftermath of a deal we will continue to pressure them on human rights, terrorism, their conventional military activities, and so on.’
AP scoop #1 – admin is going to roll back non-nuclear sanctions — The lede is blunt: “the Obama administration may have to backtrack on its promise that it will suspend only nuclear-related economic sanctions.” The story reveals that sanctions that were imposed on Iran to block illicit finance and ballistic missile development will also be rolled back. 23 out of 24 currently sanctioned Iranian banks will be delisted, including the staggeringly crucial Central Bank of Iran. There’s no way to credibly spin delisting the CBI as nuclear-related relief. The CBI is government owned and – as the AP article notes – was designated as a primary money laundering concern because the Iranians use it for financing terrorism, ballistic missile research, and campaigns aimed at bolstering the Assad regime in Syria. Secondary sanctions that prevent other countries from flooding Iran with cash will also be removed.
The result, per the article, will make “it easier for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and its police, intelligence services and paramilitary groups to do business.” It’s a 180 degree reversal of years of administration assurances that the Iranians would only get nuclear-related relief, and that sanctions relating to Iran’s non-nuclear military and terror-related activities would remain. In a broader context, it means the final deal will give Iran hundreds of billions of dollars to do what they want, while dropping restrictions might have prevented them from using the money to fund their ballistic missile program, global terror activities, or regional proxy wars.
Continue reading at Power Line.