May 4, 2015 | Quote

Obama’s New Answers on Iran Fall Flat

Top Obama administration officials have released new details about how they would lift most sanctions against Iran. Those are unnerving some experts, who doubt the administration’s claims about the sanctions will hold up. 

In speeches last week to a conference at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Vice President Joe Biden revealed new details about the end of most sanctions against Iran if a nuclear deal is reached. The officials also claimed that most of the sanctions, including multilateral sanctions, could be snapped back into place if Iran cheated, and they argued that giving Iran tens of billions of dollars in cash won’t dramatically increase Iran’s spending on terrorism and other nefarious activities.

Lew spoke to a private meeting of Washington Institute members last Wednesday, after which Treasury posted his remarks. He said that President Obama planned to use his own authority to suspend sanctions against Iran’s oil, banking and trade sectors after Iran complied with the initial parts of the deal and that Congress wouldn’t actually be asked to lift sanctions during his presidency.


“Lew is signaling that the administration is planning on delisting IRCG banks, energy companies and shipping companies, and perhaps the entire IRGC,” said Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.


“Isolating the Quds force from the rest of the IRGC ignores the fact that there is a vast IRGC infrastructure that has been involved in human rights violations, proliferation, and terrorism,” said Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.  “It leaves the IRGC with a great deal of room to maneuver.”

Dubowitz sees the same risk: “When you give bad people bad money, they use it for bad things.”


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