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August 19, 2015 1:07 pm

Washington Think Tanks Call for More Sanctions and Pressure on European Businesses to Stay Out of Iran

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

An Iranian oil rig. Photo: Press TV.

An Iranian oil rig. Photo: Press TV.

The heads of conservative Washington DC think tanks rallied against the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran on Tuesday, insisting there were still ways for Congress to amend the agreement to suit U.S. interests better.

Former Republican senator Jim Demint, who resigned from the Senate in 2013 to lead The Heritage Foundation, posted a video to The Daily Signal from YouTube, called “The Iran Deal Leads to War. There is a Better Way.”

Calling on Congress to “scrap this deal,” the Heritage Foundation video called on the U.S. to “stay strong on sanctions” that the video said brought Iran to the negotiating table in the first place, and it urges the U.S. to “stay strong with our allies,” segueing between images of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordanian King Abdullah II — although Jordan’s ambassador to the U.N. already announced Jordanian support for the P5+1 arrangement.

Meanwhile, Mark Dubowitz, the executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies penned a piece for Foreign Policy calling the Iran deal a “ticking time bomb.”

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Dubowitz was especially concerned that as European companies moved to invest in a newly opened Iran, the U.S. would have greater difficulty corralling European support for the snap back of sanctions should Iran be discovered to have cheated on its commitments to the international community via the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, announced in Vienna on July 14 and set to be adopted this October.

“Indeed, why would Europe agree to new sanctions when they have big money on the line?” wrote Dubowitz, predicting, “Their arguments against new nuclear sanctions will include questions about the credibility of evidence, the seriousness of the nuclear infractions, the appropriate level of response, and likely Iranian retaliation.”

Dubowitz similarly predicted that the U.S. would not unilaterally impose new biting sanctions against Iran if it is found to have reneged on its commitments in the face of European opposition, which he claimed would be galvanized by “pressure from European business lobbies.”

So, to rectify this issue, Dubowitz presented a mechanism wherein the U.S. would apply pressure on European interests to stay out of Iran.

“If Washington makes it clear that European banks will risk penalties or jeopardize their ability to transact in dollars if they do business with Iranian banks, those European energy, insurance, and industrial companies will find their financial pathways into Iran stymied,” he wrote.

Dubowitz was also convinced that if Congress rejects the deal, European companies will hedge against Iranian investments over the potential of further sanctions and financial loss down the road.


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