U.S. unlikely to risk nuclear deal by pressuring Iran on foreign aggression
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The administration says it intends to keep Iran's feet to the fire on these behaviors. "Make no mistake; deal or no deal, we will continue to use all our available tools, including sanctions, to counter Iran's menacing behavior," Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said in April. "Iran knows that our host of sanctions focused on its support for terrorism and its violations of human rights are not, and have never been, up for discussion. The Treasury Department's designations of Iranian-backed terrorist groups...will persist, giving us a powerful tool to go after Iran's attempts to fund terror."8 There is, however, a very real trust deficit between the administration and the both the U.S. public and our allies in the region regarding U.S. policy to the Middle East (think: chemical weapons red-line) and the Iran deal in particular (think: inspections anywhere, anytime). And here's the rub: to effectively counter Iran's menacing behaviors Iranian entities—maybe banks, big business, bonyad foundations—will have to be potential targets for "all our available tools, including sanctions." But the text of the Iran deal itself enshrines Iran's own red-line on sanctions: "Iran has stated that if sanctions are reinstated in whole or in part, Iran will treat that as grounds to cease performing its commitments under the JCPOA in whole or in part."9 Will the U.S. risk undermining the Iran deal by sanctioning Iranian entities for supporting terrorism or abusing human rights?
Iran's regime is dedicated to spreading its revolutionary ideology and has a well-established network of terrorist proxies that it funds. If the nuclear deal is completed without addressing Iran's aggressive foreign policy, then it will only add fuel to this fire by giving Iran access to over $100 billion in sanctions relief as well as billions of dollars more in potential foreign direct investment and trade.