The U.S. is considering easing its policy on sanctions relief for Iran and restarting negotiations with the Islamic Republic, says Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reported.
According to the report, the fact that foreign ministers of the P5+1 are set to meet with their Iranian counterpart in New York next week to “examine the recent developments of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the official name of the crap sandwich of an agreement).” That information came courtesy of Iran’s Fars news service, (September 21, 2015).The MEMRI report says that meeting is evidence of the possible shift.
Secretary of State John Kerry said, at a joint press conference in Berlin with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier, that he would meet Zarif in New York to discuss “Iran and other matters.” and Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the head of Iran’s Center for Strategic Research, said last Saturday that “the nuclear negotiations are not over yet.”
And as I reported on the MRCTV blog in early September, the Supreme Leader wanted changes in the deal. In a televised September 3rd speech to Iran’s Assembly of Experts, the tyrant said, with regard to the nuclear deal, that the U.S. must lift the sanctions and not merely suspend them or Iran will stop implementing the deal (see video below).
Another thing is that the [Americans] say that those sanctions that are supposed to be lifted will [merely] be suspended. That’s not the case. It’s clear that the economic sanctions must be lifted. We wanted this to happen immediately. “Immediately” was interpreted in a certain way. I didn’t say anything. It was fine. Our people interpreted “immediately,” and said that it should be done in a certain way, and I did not object. Ultimately, however, the sanctions must be lifted. A freeze or suspension of the sanctions is unacceptable to us. If they [merely] suspend the sanctions, we will also [merely] suspend [our obligations]. If this is the case, why should we take the initiative and implement them? True, they said that lifting some of the sanctions was not up to the U.S. administration, with which we were holding talks. To this, we said that we would take legal measures to resolve the matter. But the sanctions that are up to the U.S. administration, and the European governments, must be lifted completely.
The apparent meaning of all the above is that the nuclear negotiations, which Iran considers unfinished, will be reopened, with the aim of achieving the complete lifting of sanctions.
When one reads through the deal as laid out in U.N. Resolution 2231, each time it mentions sanctions, it says those sanctions are to be terminated, for example:
“The UN Security Council resolution endorsing this JCPOA will terminate all provisions of previous UN Security Council resolutions on the Iranian nuclear issue “
The only exception is when it talks about sanctions imposed by the United States; those sanctions will not be terminated, only cease to be applied, in other words they will suspended:
The United States will cease the application, and will continue to do so, in accordance with this JCPOA of the sanctions specified in Annex II to take effect simultaneously with the IAEA verified implementation of the agreed nuclear related measures by Iran as specified in Annex V.
MEMRI points out that White House Spox Josh Earnest said that “Iran was charged with meeting its obligations under the JCPOA: “What we have indicated all along is that once an agreement was reached, as it was back in mid-July, that we would be focused on Iran’s actions and not their words, and that we will be able to tell if Iran follows through on the commitments that they made in the context of these negotiations. And that is what will determine our path forward here.”
“We’ve been crystal clear about the fact that Iran will have to take a variety of serious steps to significantly roll back their nuclear program before any sanctions relief is offered – and this is everything from reducing their nuclear uranium stockpile by 98 percent, disconnecting thousands of centrifuges, essentially gutting the core of their heavy-water reactor at Arak, giving the IAEA the information and access they need in order to complete their report about the potential military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program. And then we need to see Iran begin to comply with the inspections regime that the IAEA will put in place to verify their compliance with the agreement.
But he didn’t say what sanctions relief means, suspension or totally canceling.
The expected meeting between the P5+1 foreign ministers and Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif may be evidence of a shift in the White House position and also evidence that it intends to discuss the Iranian demand for further concessions from the superpowers.
If the Administration agrees to these demands, the U.S. would be eliminating one of the few remaining “snap back” provisions of the deal, by restarting the application of sanctions. As far as the rest of the “snap back,” the president has assured potential Iran business partners outside the U.S. that, if they begin to operate in Iran and it violates the deal, they will be allowed to keep operating without penalty.
And the Obama team which conceded so much already just ensure their guy will have a legacy, might just give Iran what it wants after all they’ve done it so many times before.