Jan. 6, 2016
- Is the U.S. Tilting toward Iran? – Josh Rogin and Eli Lake
When the White House sold the Iran nuclear deal to Congress, its message was that nothing in the deal would prevent the U.S. from sanctioning Iran for non-nuclear issues. Yet that has not been the case. Last week, the Treasury Department balked at the last moment on sanctioning 11 entities and individuals it deemed responsible for helping the Iranian government develop its ballistic missile program in violation of UN sanctions. The State Department had intervened at the last minute, following objections by the Iranian government.
A week earlier, Secretary of State Kerry wrote personally to Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif to assure him that the Obama administration could waive new restrictions that would require visas for anyone who had visited Iran to enter the U.S. Iran’s sentencing of a U.S. journalist on espionage charges in November, and its detention of a U.S.-Iranian dual national in October, have led to no downgrade in relations.
U.S. officials tell us Iran has extraordinary leverage at this moment, as the world waits for it to implement all of its obligations in the nuclear deal. Aaron David Miller, a vice president at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, said, “The Iranians hold the Obama legacy in their hands. We are constrained and we are acquiescing to a certain degree to ensure we maintain a functional relationship with the Iranians.” (Bloomberg)