As Iran Treaty Looms, AIPAC Stresses Compliance, Consequences for Failure to End Nuclear Weapon Pursuit
With the signing of a formal treaty with Iran set for next week, AIPAC, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, urged the U.S. Congress to push for strict rules to oversee compliance of the agreement, a draft of the final accord and explicit consequences for Tehran if the Islamic Republic continues its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
In a briefing memo, AIPAC said:
The interim agreement between Iran and the P5+1 goes into effect on January 20, with ongoing concerns remaining about Iran’s continued nuclear program and the extent of sanctions relief it will receive. As implementation of the agreement begins, Congress must take three important steps: (1) strictly oversee Iranian compliance; (2) lay out the contours of an acceptable final agreement; and (3) advance legislation that will spell out the consequences for Tehran if it violates the interim deal or rebuffs a verifiable final pact ending Iran’s nuclear weapons pursuit.
AIPAC said “strict oversight of the interim agreement” was important:
With concerns that the interim agreement allows Iran to continue key portions of its nuclear program, Congress, working with the administration, must strictly oversee Iranian compliance. If Iran’s program advances in violation of the deal, the administration must revoke sanctions relief. Congress must insist that the administration fully apprises it on all terms of the agreement, Tehran’s progress in implementing the deal, and all developments in negotiations on a final agreement. Sanctions relief must also be closely monitored to ensure the impact of the relief on the Iranian economy is not beyond what was intended. The administration values the relief at $7-8 billion yet outside experts have placed the value much higher.
As for enforcing Iran’s maintaining of its commitments, AIPAC warned that the pursuit of Iranian oil would make renewed sanctions tougher to enforce:
The administration must also stand by its commitment to vigorously enforce remaining sanctions. Companies prematurely re-entering the Iranian marketplace, countries increasing their purchases of Iranian oil, and banks repatriating funds in excess of permitted levels must be sanctioned.
As for the pursuit of nuclear weapons, which Tehran denies, AIPAC said the final agreement must guarantee that nuclear weapons capabilities are not achieved.
In the six to twelve month period expected before the final agreement is reached, AIPAC suggested a tough stance, with frequent monitoring, be set to prevent Iran from going nuclear.
The group said the final agreement should call on Iran to:
Dismantle its illicit nuclear infrastructure, including enrichment and reprocessing capabilities and the heavy water reactor and production plant at Arak, such that it is prevented from pursuing both uranium and plutonium pathways to a nuclear weapon. Come into compliance with the requirements of U.N. Security Council resolutions. Resolve all International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) concerns over possible military dimensions of its nuclear program. Permit continuous 24/7 on-site inspection, verification, and monitoring of all suspect facilities. Implement the additional protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Congress must complete work on legislation to increase pressure on Iran if it violates or rejects an acceptable final deal. Congress should establish clear consequences if Iran violates the agreement, or fails to agree to an acceptable final deal, by legislating additional sanctions that would only go into effect under such scenarios.
AIPAC also listed the Congressional bills that would provide for tough sanctions if commitments go unmet:
The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013 (S. 1881), authored by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), provides for additional sanctions on Iran while honoring the president’s request and the terms of the interim agreement that call for no additional sanctions during the talks. By a resounding vote of 400-20, the House last July passed the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013 (H.R. 850), which would significantly expand U.S. efforts to impose sanctions on Iran. The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013 (S. 1881) includes key provisions to advance efforts to halt Tehran’s nuclear weapons pursuit.
AIPAC said the Congressional legislation allows U.S. President Barack Obama “negotiating space” to move forward with a formal treaty, suspending sanctions for a year as talks progress, while allowing for sanctions to be reinstated if Iran breaks its international commitments.
AIPAC said the legislation would sanction “countries that fail to reduce their oil imports from Iran by at least 30 percent within a one-year period and to virtually zero within two years,” expand “sanctions to the remaining large sectors of the Iranian economy, including shipbuilding, mining, construction, and engineering, target “foreign financial institutions that facilitate transactions in non-local hard currencies with sanctioned Iranian banks or the Central Bank of Iran,” and expand “the list of senior Iranian officials subject to sanctions and target individuals involved in corruption, diverting humanitarian goods, or aiding Iran to evade sanctions.”