January 13, 2014 | Quote
Questions About the Iran Implementation Deal
The administration announced completion of the implementation agreement for an interim nuclear deal (got that?) with Iran. This, however, amounts to much less than meets the eye, despite Secretary of State John Kerry’s vapid rhetoric. (“We’ve taken a critical, significant step towards reaching verifiable resolution that prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”) Kerry’s announcement raises a host of questions.
First, what is the implementation arrangement, and does it resolve open issues like advanced centrifuges or the right to enrich? The lack of an actual document is troubling, given that the parties don’t seem to be in agreement on some rather basic terms. It gives one pause that all this is merely a device to hold off further sanctions and/or Israeli military action. The White House can’t simultaneously tell Congress to hold off on sanctions because the implementation agreement demonstrates progress and then turn around and say that agreement can’t be shown. (Imagine if George W. Bush said he had a plan to end the Iraq war and wanted Congress to appropriate the money but wouldn’t say how the funds were to be spent.)
What we do hear about the specifics is ominous. According to one report, Iran is being allowed to continue research on advanced centrifuges that will further reduce the time to breakout.
And wouldn’t you know, Iran’s economy is already recovering, with more relief reportedly due to kick in on Feb. 1. Sanctions guru Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, reports, “ Iran’s economy is showing signs of recovery after years of sanctions, due in no small part to the recent sanctions relief offered in Geneva, changing market psychology, and a perception that the Obama administration may no longer be committed to ratcheting up the economic pressure on Iran.” Gross domestic product has stabilized, inflation has decreased, exports are up and oil sales are booming. (“It’s also worth noting that according to some estimates, even without any further relief, Iran will save $4.5-$5 billion in oil revenues over the next six months as . . . sanctions relief for these sectors is implemented fully.”)Why hasn’t Congress acted already to prevent this windfall?