According to an AP report released on Tuesday by Bradley Klapper and Matthew Lee, the suspension of sanctions in the event of a deal with Iran risks unraveling terror, human rights, and ballistic missile-related sanctions against Iran as well. Sanctions have been imposed on Iran for its support for terror, its ongoing development of ballistic missiles, its human rights violations, and its illicit nuclear program. The Obama administration has repeatedly insisted, including in a White House factsheet, that while nuclear-related sanctions on Iran will be suspended, other types of sanctions will remain in place.
However, administration officials are reportedly examining the possibility of suspending both nuclear and some non-nuclear sanctions. Additionally, administration officials claim that in order to give Iran sanctions relief, they will have to suspend restrictions on the Central Bank of Iran. The bank was sanctioned for money laundering, including facilitating terror financing, ballistic missile research, and support for Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. Despite this, the administration is now asserting that the sanctions on this bank are all nuclear-related. In fact, all but one of the 24 designated Iranian banks are considered to be under nuclear-related sanctions, so sanctions on them will be waived as well. Administration officials are also defining measures designed to stop Iran from acquiring ballistic missiles as nuclear-related sanctions, meaning that they too could be waived.
Lifting nuclear-related sanctions will allow Iran to expand its support for terror and destabilizing activities in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza, and Yemen, to the detriment of US allies. In their article, Lee and Klapper write that lifting the secondary sanctions on US and foreign banks will make it “easier for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its police, intelligence services, and paramilitary groups to do business.” The AP report reveals that in a potential deal, not only will Iran gain billions of dollars through the release of frozen assets and the suspension of nuclear-related sanctions, but the restrictions that may help prevent Iran from using the money to fund their ballistic missile program and global terror activities could be removed as well.
The United States has cut funding to a program “intended [to] foster an independent moderate Shiite voice” in Lebanon, leading critics to fault the move as an effort to appease Iran, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.Other programs run by Hayya Bina will continue to receive State Department funding. However, the Journal noted that Lebanese institutions considered close to the the Iranian proxy group Hezbollah, including the armed forces and intelligence agency, receive American cooperation to support their fight against the Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has referred to Lebanese Shiites who don’t support him as “idiots” and “traitors.” Lokman Slim, director of Hayya Bina, told the Journal that he is one of those who has been “singled out” by Nasrallah. “Coming on the heels of an expected deal with Iran, it is bound to generate much speculation about possible ulterior motives,” Firas Maksad, director of Global Policy Advisors, told the Journal.
Bloomberg News reported Tuesday that a United Nations panel found that the United States and other Western countries have not been enforcing sanctions imposed on Iran. Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, characterized the non-enforcement of sanctions as a “political decision” taken to ensure that Iran’s behavior “doesn’t in any way jeopardize the [nuclear] talks.” (via TheTower.org)