Business as usual with Tehran as the interim deal unravels


Now with the interim deal in the horizon, the US appears to be the main proponent of engagement with the IRI regime.  Accordingly, and as the argument proceeds in Congress, there is little or no prospect of reining in the controversial nuclear weapons program – now at its most advanced stage ten years on – let alone regime’s continued support for terrorism abroad and further deteriorated human rights situation at home.

By Sharif Behruz for

U.S. Secretary of State Kerry shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif after a ceremony at the United Nations in GenevaIn November, major world powers struck an interim deal with the regime of Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), giving Tehran an estimated $7 billion in sanctions relief in return for steps to halt the regime’s nuclear activities. The deal called for negotiating a full agreement within 6 months, possibly a year, and gradual loosening of sanctions that many rightly believe has brought the regime to the negotiating table.

President Obama hailed the temporary agreement to freeze Iran’s disputed nuclear program as a historic agreement, pushing back against skepticism of the accord voiced by members of congress and some American allies.

Opposing the interim deal, most members of Congress have argued that it was unwise to ease sanctions before Iran took aggressive action to rein in its nuclear program, which the United States and allies suspect may be aimed at building nuclear bombs.

Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) are threatening to introduce a new sanctions bill despite warnings from the Obama administration that new sanctions could derail nuclear negotiations at a delicate moment.  Meanwhile, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) has proposed the idea of putting off the planned senate sanctions for now and scheduling a vote on sanctions six months from now, however, other senators opposed his proposal. For instance, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) said that Corker’s proposal “doesn’t sound workable.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that he is “more disturbed now” about the nuclear deal “than ever before” after a briefing with the Obama administration’s officials regarding the nuclear deal with IRI.

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