Congress may be ready to kill the Iran deal before it even gets off the ground. This news comes after lawmakers in the U.S. urged new sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program and oil sector. The proposal has support from both sides of the aisle, Democrats and Republicans, who think that by providing relief to Iran in the form of sanctions easing would discourage the country from following through with its obligations.
David Cohen, U.S. Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, initiated a full-court press emphasizing the necessity for enforcing existing sanctions in spite of whatever deal was reached in Geneva.
“The Joint Plan of Action reached in Geneva does not, and will not, interfere with our continued efforts to expose and disrupt those supporting Iran’s nuclear program of seeking to evade out sanctions,” said David Cohen in a statement.
Tehran asserts that any such measures imposed by the U.S. will kill the historic deal.
Observers worry that the agreement, which is hailed by many as the beginning of a period of detente between Iran and the U.S., may hinge on the political ambitions of congressional lawmakers in the U.S.
Observers say that lawmakers in the U.S. are pandering to a limited constituency back home who see no gain in the Iran deal. Lawmakers from hardline red states who have nothing to worry about politically have continued to push their hardline stance in hopes that they will be re-elected for standing up against the proverbial enemy that is Iran; even at the expense of international and diplomatic progress.
Despite allegations from lawmakers that the relief from economic sanctions undermines the continued pressure on Iran to adhere to U.S. demands, the Obama administration has assured that the Iran deal and its relief is limited in its scope and is modest by all relative standards. The sanctions total $1.5 billion to be exact, a drop in the pot in regards to the total of international economic sanctions placed on Iran by various countries. In addition, the economic sanctions placed on Iran’s oil sector, perhaps the most effective of all, are not included in the deal.
Observers fear that Congress may kill the Iran deal before it even officially begins. The interim agreement which calls for the freezing of Iran’s nuclear program for a period of six months is still being drawn up, and an exact date has yet to be agreed upon. In the meantime, international negotiators are working towards consolidating a more “comprehensive accord.”
The Obama administration has urged lawmakers to see the other side of the argument Saturday, saying that if we continue a policy of harsh rhetoric and iron fisted diplomacy, we will only move towards a path of hostile relations and dead end negotiations. Instead, the Iran deal provides economic relief in return for the country’s committed support to reduce their nuclear capacity. Such a move may not only provide for a powerful political constituency within Iran that supports the U.S., but could also lend some much needed political favor within the ranks of the Iranian government.
Despite efforts to continue these talks, lawmakers in Congress are vowing to kill the Iran deal before it even has a chance to take effect.
“There is no way Iran is open for business,” said a senior U.S. administration official Thursday morning. Speaking about the stance towards sanctions he added, “We haven’t let up, and we aren’t letting up.”
By John Amaruso