MNA – Iran’s senior nuclear negotiator and present ambassador to London has underlined one of major demands of Iran in nuclear negotiations was non-extension of Iran Sanctions Act (ISA).
Hamid Baidinejad was responding in a brief note to US Congress extension of Iran Sanctions Act, which surprisingly Democrats in the Senate had been unanimous in voting for. JCPOA provisions demanded that ISA not be extended and it would expire December 31. “The Act, which would be signed by Obama as well casts doubts on the US remaining committed to the JCPOA; in Tehran, in the highest places, the issue of preparing a proper response is under consideration,” he said. “As someone closely related to nuclear talks, I felt obliged to write some lines to elucidate some points of the deal related to the issue at hand.”
“An underpinning assumption and a guiding principle in nuclear negotiations which Iran also agreed to, was that sanctions passed by the Congress would not be removed due to Congress opposition and that only President in the White House would suspend the acts; the complete removal of such sanctions would be achieved as late as the 8th year of JCPOA implementation if the IAEA confirms peaceful nature of nuclear program. However up to that moment, secondary sanctions should be suspended, while sanctions related to the EU should immediately be removed,” he continued.
“The US has passed several laws on sanctions against Iran which are currently effective: Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012; the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010; National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA); and, Iran Sanctions Act, which was recently extended by the Congress; there is a considerable degree of overlapping in provisions of these sanctions and even if ISA was not extended, other sanctions would still hit Iran’s oil and petrochemical industry, and where the president of the US has open hand in enforcing them,” he detailed.
“During negotiations, Iran strictly demanded non-extension of ISA, and US officials, well-aware that Congress-enacted law would be formidable to challenge by any means, gave assurances that they would wage efforts to prevent such extension; they provided necessary assurances that even if ISA is extended, the government is committed to suspend it based on the very provisions of the JCPOA; however, the opponents of the JCPOA had imposed new sanctions which far exceed its former provisions; if all amendments proposed are voted, since it is actually viewed as new sanctions, it violates JCPOA; so, a bipartisan accord set aside all amendments to rule out the possibility,” Baidinejad said.
He however criticized the media coverage of the story; “some media inaccurately interpreted the ISA extension as virtually restoring sanctions automatically, which is a misinterpretation; a return to former state of sanctions requires a different decision by the government; to the most probability, Obama administration will eschew from that so as not to be the first to violate JCPOA,” he concluded.