Russia rejects sanctions 'snapback' if Iran cheats on nuke deal

On a day when the House of Representatives passed a bill that would grant Congress some oversight over the Iran nuclear deal, Russia announced that they would not support automatic Iran sanctions "snapback" if they were caught cheating.

The reimposition of sanctions in case of Iranian cheating has been a major selling point for the president in his effort to build support for the deal. Since any snapback sanctions would have to be approved by the UN Security Council, the issue would be dead on arrival given Russia's veto.

Bloomberg Business:

 The Obama administration is trying to sell a nuclear deal with Iran to skeptical Arabs, Israelis and U.S. lawmakers by saying that United Nations sanctions will be restored automatically if the Iranians are caught cheating.

Not so, say the Russians, who have one of five vetoes in the 15-member UN Security Council.

“There can be no automaticity, none whatsoever” in reimposing UN sanctions if Iran violates the terms of an agreement to curb its nuclear program, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told Bloomberg News on Wednesday. He didn’t elaborate.

While the Obama administration maintains that Russia agreed “in principle” to the need for a sanctions “snapback” mechanism if Iran fails to comply with the agreement now being negotiated in final form, the Russian government has offered no corroboration.

Instead, President Vladimir Putin on April 13 lifted a ban on exporting missile defense systems to Tehran, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said lifting all the sanctions against Iran is good business for Russia.

That underscores a long-standing Russian aversion to sanctions, heightened as Russia now endures punitive measures imposed by the U.S. and the European Union over the crisis in Ukraine. Putin isn’t going to want to let the U.S. and European allies get their way on Iran without Russia’s agreement, said Yury Barmin, an analyst at the Delma Institute in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

“It’s highly doubtful to me that Russia could agree to automatic renewal of sanctions against Iran if there are violations,” Barmin said in an e-mail. “Russia may agree to discuss the issue at the UN Security Council, but not to quickly reapply economic measures.”

“I would consider it as Moscow’s lever against Washington,” Barmin said.

You would think we would have nailed down Russian agreement on sanctions snapback before we signed off on the framework deal signed at the beginning of last montyh. Apparently, that little detail slipped through the cracks and now, one of Obama's major talking points meant to reassure Republicans. Israel, and our Gulf allies that the deal was solid just went up in smoke.

In addition to the failure of the administration to get the Security Council to agree to reimpose sanctions if Iran cheats, the US has apparently agreed that, instead of gradually lifting the sanctions over a number of years as President Obama continuously promised - and declared was part of the framework agreement - has gone by the wayside:

Iran is demanding that all UN sanctions and resolutions, which declare the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program illegitimate and a threat to international peace and stability, be abrogated.

An agreement by the June 30 deadline would be followed “within a few days” by a new UN Security Council resolution that “will terminate all previous resolutions, including all sanctions and will set in place the termination of EU sanctions,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said in a speech at New York University on April 29.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power agrees that the sanctions resolutions would be lifted, but only to be replaced with “a mechanism for ensuring that many of the sanctions remain.” 

Got that? All sanctions will be lifted immediately but “a mechanism for ensuring that many of the sanctions remain. will be put in place. What kind of diplomatic bibble-babble is that? Methinks Ms. Power, in trying to put lipstick on a pig, is attempting to make the pig a Victoria Secrets model. The bigger the whopper, the more people will believe it.

If you're thinking that Congress, our NATO allies, and most of the world will conclude that this is a really bad deal, you'd be wrong. The administration, much of Congress, the world, and our allies are playing a gigantic game of "pretend." They are going to pretend that the nuclear deal puts Iran in a box and that they won't be able to develop a nuclear bomb. That's why despite President Obama saying exactly the opposite on sanctions - that some of them will be maintained for years and that they will snapback if Iran cheats - the reality is recognized only by Israel and a few backward lawmakers in Washington.

 

On a day when the House of Representatives passed a bill that would grant Congress some oversight over the Iran nuclear deal, Russia announced that they would not support automatic Iran sanctions "snapback" if they were caught cheating.

The reimposition of sanctions in case of Iranian cheating has been a major selling point for the president in his effort to build support for the deal. Since any snapback sanctions would have to be approved by the UN Security Council, the issue would be dead on arrival given Russia's veto.

Bloomberg Business:

 The Obama administration is trying to sell a nuclear deal with Iran to skeptical Arabs, Israelis and U.S. lawmakers by saying that United Nations sanctions will be restored automatically if the Iranians are caught cheating.

Not so, say the Russians, who have one of five vetoes in the 15-member UN Security Council.

“There can be no automaticity, none whatsoever” in reimposing UN sanctions if Iran violates the terms of an agreement to curb its nuclear program, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told Bloomberg News on Wednesday. He didn’t elaborate.

While the Obama administration maintains that Russia agreed “in principle” to the need for a sanctions “snapback” mechanism if Iran fails to comply with the agreement now being negotiated in final form, the Russian government has offered no corroboration.

Instead, President Vladimir Putin on April 13 lifted a ban on exporting missile defense systems to Tehran, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said lifting all the sanctions against Iran is good business for Russia.

That underscores a long-standing Russian aversion to sanctions, heightened as Russia now endures punitive measures imposed by the U.S. and the European Union over the crisis in Ukraine. Putin isn’t going to want to let the U.S. and European allies get their way on Iran without Russia’s agreement, said Yury Barmin, an analyst at the Delma Institute in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

“It’s highly doubtful to me that Russia could agree to automatic renewal of sanctions against Iran if there are violations,” Barmin said in an e-mail. “Russia may agree to discuss the issue at the UN Security Council, but not to quickly reapply economic measures.”

“I would consider it as Moscow’s lever against Washington,” Barmin said.

You would think we would have nailed down Russian agreement on sanctions snapback before we signed off on the framework deal signed at the beginning of last montyh. Apparently, that little detail slipped through the cracks and now, one of Obama's major talking points meant to reassure Republicans. Israel, and our Gulf allies that the deal was solid just went up in smoke.

In addition to the failure of the administration to get the Security Council to agree to reimpose sanctions if Iran cheats, the US has apparently agreed that, instead of gradually lifting the sanctions over a number of years as President Obama continuously promised - and declared was part of the framework agreement - has gone by the wayside:

Iran is demanding that all UN sanctions and resolutions, which declare the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program illegitimate and a threat to international peace and stability, be abrogated.

An agreement by the June 30 deadline would be followed “within a few days” by a new UN Security Council resolution that “will terminate all previous resolutions, including all sanctions and will set in place the termination of EU sanctions,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said in a speech at New York University on April 29.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power agrees that the sanctions resolutions would be lifted, but only to be replaced with “a mechanism for ensuring that many of the sanctions remain.” 

Got that? All sanctions will be lifted immediately but “a mechanism for ensuring that many of the sanctions remain. will be put in place. What kind of diplomatic bibble-babble is that? Methinks Ms. Power, in trying to put lipstick on a pig, is attempting to make the pig a Victoria Secrets model. The bigger the whopper, the more people will believe it.

If you're thinking that Congress, our NATO allies, and most of the world will conclude that this is a really bad deal, you'd be wrong. The administration, much of Congress, the world, and our allies are playing a gigantic game of "pretend." They are going to pretend that the nuclear deal puts Iran in a box and that they won't be able to develop a nuclear bomb. That's why despite President Obama saying exactly the opposite on sanctions - that some of them will be maintained for years and that they will snapback if Iran cheats - the reality is recognized only by Israel and a few backward lawmakers in Washington.