Monday, August 6, 2018

Trump Administration Revives Tough Sanctions on Iran


At LAT, "Trump administration reviving tough sanctions on Iran in effort to replace nuclear pact":
The Trump administration Monday announced it is reimposing harsh economic sanctions on Tehran as part of a strategy to replace the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with what it hopes will be a stronger agreement to curb the Islamic Republic’s ability to build a nuclear bomb.

The sanctions will target numerous areas of Iranian economic activity, including the automotive and precious metals industries. They go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, senior administration officials said.

In a statement Monday, President Trump called the 2015 pact “a horrible, one-sided deal, [that] failed to achieve the fundamental objective of blocking all paths to an Iranian nuclear bomb, and it threw a lifeline of cash to a murderous dictatorship that has continued to spread bloodshed, violence, and chaos.”

Supporters of the deal say that, while flawed, it has successfully prevented Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon in the medium term. United Nations inspectors, whom Iran agreed to admit regularly, say Iran has largely complied with the deal's restrictions.

The revived sanctions ban most transactions with Iran’s central bank; its network of ports and insurance companies; the purchase of Iranian sovereign debt; and trade in gold, graphite, aluminum and other precious metals.

The hard-fought Iran nuclear deal, signed by the U.S. with China, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany and France, required Iran to dismantle its nuclear-production infrastructure, mothballing centrifuges used to enrich uranium, disabling its plutonium-producing heavy-water reactor and getting rid of nearly its entire stockpile of enriched uranium.

In exchange, crippling U.N. sanctions on Iran were eased and billions of dollars in Iranian assets were unfrozen and returned. Tehran was allowed to rejoin the world economy, trading oil and participating in financial markets.

But Trump disdained the deal, saying it did not do enough to curb Iran’s other “malign behavior,” including support for militant groups in the region and repression of domestic opposition.

In May, Trump withdrew from the deal, despite intense lobbying from Europe not to do so. Europeans and others said they will attempt to keep the deal alive, but they risk being penalized by Washington if their companies continue to do business with Iran.

“Individuals or entities that fail to wind down activities with Iran risk severe consequences,” Trump warned Monday. “We urge all nations to take such steps to make clear that the Iranian regime faces a choice: either change its threatening, destabilizing behavior and reintegrate with the global economy, or continue down a path of economic isolation.”

Administration officials, who briefed reporters Monday on condition of anonymity, rejected the criticism that the revived U.S. sanctions will be less effective than the earlier Obama-era package because other key world leaders like China and the European Union are not onboard...
I don't believe Iran "largely complied" with the agreement. There was no independent outside verification procedures. Iran could cheat.

But keep reading.

And see the Times of Israel, from last month, "Seized archive shows Iran nuke project was larger than thought, had foreign help: Israel showcases to US reporters parts of trove Mossad spirited out of Tehran; 'These guys were working on nuclear bombs,' confirms ex-IAEA inspector on seeing the material.