Press TV- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the extension of a piece of anti-Iran legislation in the US will have no “executive effect” and will merely be a sign of the United States government’s unreliability.
Speaking to reporters on arrival in the Indian capital of New Delhi on Saturday, Foreign Minister Zarif referred to the US Senate’s Thursday vote to extend the so-called Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) and said the legislation has no executive value.
“What was done at the Senate, even if it is signed off on by America’s president, has no executive effect, and, in the viewpoint of the international community, lays bare the lack of credibility of the US government, which acts against its commitments,” Zarif said, ISNA reported.
The US Senate on Thursday voted to extend the ISA, legislation that dates back to the 1990s and authorizes the US president to potentially impose sanctions on US entities that do business with Iran. The US House of Representatives had also voted to extend the ISA earlier last month.
The law was originally introduced on the unfounded grounds that Iran was pursuing a non-civilian nuclear program.
The ISA has become a source of renewed tension between Iran and the United States. The two countries, along with five other states and the European Union (EU) ended a decades-long dispute over the Iranian nuclear program when they reached a nuclear deal back in July 2015.
The deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA, stipulates that all nuclear-related sanctions on Iran be lifted and no new nuclear-related sanctions be imposed as long as Iran fulfills a range of commitments of its own, including certain limits to its nuclear program and enhanced access to international monitors to Iranian nuclear facilities.
Numerous reports by the US administration and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has been tasked with monitoring the technical implementation of the JCPOA, have confirmed Iranian compliance.
The votes on the ISA at the US Congress, however, renewed speculation that new sanctions were to be imposed.
Some media reports mistakenly reported that the ISA was an “extension of sanctions against Iran,” while the legislation is in fact an extension of the US president’s authority to impose sanctions on Iran if it is found to have violated the JCPOA. Zarif’s Saturday remark that the ISA has no “executive effect” was a reference to that aspect of the legislation.
More accurate reporting has correctly referred to the votes to extend the ISA as “largely symbolic.”
‘US State Department to waive nuclear-related sanctions’
Even in its current form, merely authorizing potential sanctions, the ISA will have to be signed by US president to turn into US law.
The White House has said the ISA is “unnecessary” as the US president currently holds enough legal authority to impose sanctions if need be but did not threaten a veto as with certain other anti-Iran bills.
Meanwhile, the White House’s Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz has said he “would expect” US President Barack Obama to sign the ISA — but he added caveats.
“As you know,” Schultz said at a press briefing on Friday, “inside that legislation it includes a provision to allow the Secretary of State to waive relevant nuclear-related sanctions as consistent with both the legislation and our commitments made under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.”
“So that’s something we’ve been doing since implementation day, and that’s something we’ll continue to do under our obligations of the deal as long as Iran keeps up its end of the deal, as well,” he added referring to January 17, 2016, when the JCPOA started being implemented.
The authorization of more sanctions is, however, considered a violation of — if not the text — the spirit of the Iran deal.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei had warned last week that the Islamic Republic would consider the extension of the ISA a breach of the JCPOA and would respond accordingly.