Sanctions Debate Emerges from Shadow of Iran Nuclear Accord

(New York Times) Michael R. Gordon - After his victory in Congress on Thursday on the Iran nuclear deal, President Obama will face a new battle over how stringently to impose economic sanctions on Iran. The U.S. agreed to lift many of the crippling sanctions on Iran. But to win over wary Democrats, Obama promised that he would maintain - and perhaps even increase - sanctions to punish Iran for terrorism, human rights abuses, and other "destabilizing activities in the region." Lawmakers have indicated they would like to go further, and they are considering legislative proposals that include renewing the current sanctions against foreign companies that invest in Iran's energy industry. Obama would waive them as long as Iran complied with the nuclear accord, but it would be a signal that Iran is not to be trusted and that sanctions could be restored rapidly. Another proposal would seek to discourage Western companies from doing business with any Iranian firm in which the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps has even a minority stake, by officially designating the group to be a foreign terrorist organization. Designating the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization "would result in a powerful deterrent for international banks and companies contemplating doing business with the most dangerous element of the regime," said Mark Dubowitz, an Iran sanctions expert at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Obama administration officials insist the Treasury Department is prepared to be vigilant about curbing Iran's non-nuclear muscle flexing without extra help from Congress. Adam J. Szubin, the acting Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes, said, "I just got back from Israel where I talked with their security forces, their intelligence and their military about precisely this. There is a whole lot we need to be doing jointly to target Hizbullah's lines of support, the Quds Force's lines of support - how they are procuring parts for UAVs, how are they funneling money from their diaspora communities. We have the tools."

2015-09-11 00:00:00

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