|Posted on August 27, 2015 at 8:45 PM|
United States, Iran Matters (Harvard's Belfer Center)
Dennis Ross, International Council Member of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and David Petraeus, Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center, write in The Washington Post that it is necessary for the United States to continue to project a strong deterrent to Iran in order to insure that it does not develop nuclear weapons after the expiration of the most stringent controls of the nuclear deal.
Original publication date: 8/27/2015
President Obama’s sanctions chief will arrive in Israel on Friday to defend the nuclear containment deal with Iran and try to reassure a government and public deeply opposed to the accord that the United States is still prepared to inflict severe financial penalties on Tehran for its sponsorship of terrorism and support for military proxies.
The Obama aide, Adam J. Szubin, the top Treasury Department official who helped negotiate the accord between Iran and six world powers, will meet with Israeli government officials and foreign policy experts to make his case during a three-day trip, administration officials announced on Thursday. It is part of Mr. Obama’s full-throated effort to build support for the agreement, which faces a vote of disapproval in Congress within weeks.
Meet Adam Szubin, Obama’s point man to sell the Iran deal to Israel. Three days after the United States struck a long-fought nuclear deal with Iran, Treasury staffers who worked to help clinch the historic accord gathered to celebrate. They met in the Cash Room, an ornate space inside the Treasury Department that once served as an internal bank, to regale a key tenet of the Obama administration’s assumed foreign-policy legacy. The euphoria soon faded, however, and would be followed by weeks of skepticism from U.S. lawmakers and outright hostility from Israel, America’s top ally in the Mideast.
The July 17 celebration was organized by Adam Szubin, acting Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes, according to two officials who attended the event. Szubin helped set up the Obama administration’s crushing Iran sanctions. Now he’s trying to sell the White House’s case for lifting them. (8/28)
Key takeaway: President Hassan Rouhani claimed that Iran is not obligated to implement restrictions on its missile program under UNSC Resolution 2231.
President Rouhani asserted that UNSC Resolution 2231 does not legally bind Iran to implement restrictions on its missile program. President Rouhani added that he opposes a parliamentary vote on the JCPOA because it would transform the nuclear deal into an unnecessary legal obligation for the government. Rouhani also responded to pushback from conservatives on his comments regarding the Guardian Council, stating, “We have no intention to quarrel with any institution...We must enforce the law.”
Defense Minister IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan praised the nuclear deal for maintaining “all the infrastructure, capabilities, and technologies of the peaceful nuclear program.” Dehghan also stated that Tehran is discussing purchasing “Sukhoi fighter planes” with Moscow.
Key takeaway: Senior clerics reflected the regime’s heightened concerns over Western cultural and political infiltration into Iran in the wake of the nuclear deal.
Mashhad Friday Prayer Leader and Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Ahmad Alam ol Hoda described the reopening of the British embassy in Tehran as “worrisome,” arguing that it provides “the enemy an opportunity to attack the Islamic Revolution.” Assembly of Experts member and Tabriz Friday Prayer Leader Mohsen Mojtahed Shabestari also stated that following various media outlets’ claims that the Iranian people are distancing themselves from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s revolutionary ideals; current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei “advised” the Rouhani administration “to express revolutionary positions bluntly…” Alam ol Hoda and Shabestari’s comments reflect the regime’s increased concerns over Western cultural and political infiltration into Iran following the nuclear deal.
Key takeaway: President Hassan Rouhani briefed the Supreme Leader on the government’s actions over the past two years, while Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif confirmed that the 10-year restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program will begin on September 23.
President Rouhani reassured the Supreme Leader that the government is committed to fulfilling the necessary requirements to implement the Resistance Economy, citing a 19 percent increase in non-oil exports. Rouhani identified cash subsidies as a significant obstacle for the government and stressed the need for a gradual elimination of subsidies. He also praised the nuclear deal and declared: “We have reached a stage which can be called 'legal deterrence'.”
Foreign Minister Zarif discussed the 10-year nuclear restrictions on Iran’s enrichment capacity mandated by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and said that once the restrictions “sunset” the UN Security Council will close Iran’s file. Zarif added that the IAEA could also lift the missile and weapons restrictions “at an earlier time.” Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Takht Ravanchi, meanwhile, dismissed talks concerning Parliament’s legal right to approve the nuclear deal. The senior nuclear negotiator claimed: “It is not necessary for Parliament to ratify the JCPOA, because… it is not like a protocol or an international treaty.”
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