Tag Archives: sanctions

Interview: why I am against new #Iran sanctions

26 Jan

Don’t get me wrong, I think sanctions have worked so far. As I mentioned in my commentary piece for the Guardian in April 2013, they have forced the Iranian regime to change its stance. This is one of the main reasons why the regime changed course and allowed the Iranian government to show compromise at the nuclear talks.

But new sanctions while the talks or continuing? or passing sanctions which kick into effect if the talks fail, while we are holding nuclear negotiations with Iran? I am against them. We should wait until the deadline for the current talks, which is at the end of June 2015. We can wait that long.

I explained them in my latest interview with NPR. The audio file contains more of my comments than the text version.

You can listen to it here.

Iran nuclear talks snag: could be related to domestic politics

13 Dec

Iran’s Parliament (The Majles)

According to Reuters, talks between Iran and the P5+1 have hit a snag.

The reason is believed to be the Iranian regime’s unhappiness with the US adding new companies and individuals to its list of sanction evaders.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi sees these additions as “new sanctions”. According to his statement published on Fars news (and reprinted in Reuters):

“We are evaluating the situation and Iran will react accordingly to the new sanctions imposed on 19 companies and individuals. It is against the spirit of the Geneva deal.”

Fact: these are not “new sanctions” as Mr Araqchi states. These companies and individuals were punished as part of existing sanctions. And the US is not breaking the Geneva agreement by continuing with the existing sanctions.

Its very possible that the Iranian side is doing this because the Rouhani administration is coming under increasing pressure at home from those in the Conservative camp who oppose the Geneva deal. With this latest maneuver, the Rouhani administration could be trying to earn some street cred among the hardliners, who are becoming increasingly vociferous.

John Kerry has reason to be thankful. This latest move by Tehran will hurt those in Washington and Jerusalem who accuse the Obama administration of being “desperate”, “naive” and “falling over itself to sign a deal with the Iranians no matter what”.

The reaction by the Iranian team can be used as clear evidence that the US is serious about maintaining existing sanctions, regardless of whether Iran’s leaders like it or not.