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January 4, 2016 3:08 pm

US Backtracking on New Sanctions Emboldens Iran by Sending Message of American Weakness, Say Security Experts

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Photo: Wikipedia.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Photo: Wikipedia.

Unless the United States clamps down on Iran, it is going to give the Islamic Republic more leeway to keep pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable in relation to its nuclear program, said Institute for National Security Studies research fellow Azriel Bermant on Sunday.

He was responding to the news that the Obama administration has decided to suspend its decision to impose new sanctions on the Islamic Republic in the wake of stepped-up ballistic-missile testing.

Bermant, a specialist in US policy in the Middle East and nuclear weapons proliferation, told The Algemeiner, “The Iranians know that if they have gotten this far with their negotiating partners to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, those world powers are not going to let the agreement collapse.”

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Furthermore, he said, “When the United States said it was going to impose new sanctions and then pulled back, it sent a very bad signal. It is especially damaging to US credibility and leverage, considering the fact that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps fired unguided rockets very close to the American aircraft carrier the USS Harry S. Truman last week, while conducting a live-fire exercise.”

Bermant told The Algemeiner why he thinks the US suddenly backtracked on the imposition of new sanctions.

“The Obama administration probably fears that putting too much pressure on Iran now will undermine its moderate wing and harm President Hassan Rouhani’s standing in the upcoming parliamentary elections.”

Bermant’s concerns echo those of counterterror expert Matthew Levitt, whose analysis in Friday’s Wall Street Journal was even more critical of Washington’s behavior.

The “backpedaling” on a new series of US-imposed sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile program almost as soon as they were announced “effectively invit[es] Tehran to test the boundaries of what violations it can get away with,” wrote Levitt, director of the Stein program on counterterrorism and intelligence at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Assessing the tug of war surrounding the Islamic Republic’s continued muscle-flexing, Levitt called the current situation “worrisome.”

The planned sanctions were a last-straw response to Iran’s testing of the Emad missile in October, which, said Levitt, “a United Nations panel concluded in December… was capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1929… The measures were intended to show Washington’s willingness to hold Tehran accountable for illicit conduct.”

However, explained, Levitt,

To Iran, it didn’t matter that the measures did not undermine the major sanctions relief it stands to gain through the nuclear deal or that they were limited to a small number of individuals and companies. A spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry called the sanctions “unilateral, arbitrary and illegal.” President Hassan Rouhani denounced them and instructed his defense minister to expedite the ballistic missile program.

Iran has insisted that it will not accept restrictions on its missile program. The text of the nuclear agreement enshrines this position: “Iran has stated that if sanctions are reinstated in whole or in part, Iran will treat that as grounds to cease performing its commitments under the JCPOA in whole or in part.

The INSS’ Bermant said he didn’t believe Iran would actually walk away from the JCPOA, even if the US were to impose the new sanctions – because of their limited scope. “Don’t forget that a whole other set of sanctions would be removed,” he said.

Levitt concluded his Wall Street Journal piece by reiterating what both he and Bermant see as the key danger in American “waffling”:

By backing off sanctions over Iran’s ballistic missile test – and fairly insignificant sanctions at that – the Obama administration has left the impression that, contrary to its repeated pledges, it may not enforce current sanctions or impose new ones should Tehran violate UN Security Council resolutions or the nuclear deal. Iran’s actions to date make clear that its leaders will interpret such dithering as weakness, and an invitation to further test the boundaries of their international obligations.

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  • Reform School

    The United States Constitution was not designed to deal with the raw political power of two competing parties.
    Obama has exercised an Imperial Presidency since 2009. Obama will keep dismantling America until the Dems dump him, just as Republicans took Nixon’s Presidency away. The loud protests vs. deadly silence of the mass media has been the key to both presidencies. Until news media drive public opinion to vote their lawmakers out for malfeasance, misfeasanceand/or nonfeasance, Congress will grow neither the spine nor the testicles to fulfill its Constitutional duty.

    5,000 years of scapegoating the Jew for every gripe from Aardvark to Zulu did not end with the Holocaust. If you believe a country less than 100 years old (the Jewish State of Israel was a faded, 600-year-old memory when Islam began its 1,300-year-drive to conquer the world) is the reason only Muslims go around like savages terrorizing the meek—the official lie they repeat to ignorant western dumbkopfs like you—I have a double-decker bridge connecting New York to New Jersey I can sell you for a bargain price.

    Unless Congress impeaches and removes Obama and his Marxist cabal at once, the America Eric Holder hated will fall to Loretta’s Lynchmob. Obama unleashed the Muslim Horde to continue its march to conquest the world, halted 90 years earlier by the First World War’s Allied victory over the Axis-linked Ottoman Empire.

    Not learning from history dooms you to repeating it!

  • jakob wasi

    Give it a break. We know you’re a mouth piece for the Zionists. Israel has much more wool to thread as the House of Saud begins its inexorable decline and fall. And lest we forget the Israelis didn’t think twice to deal with Islamic Iran as a broker with it and the Reagan adminoistration to funnel arms to the Contras in Nicaragua, as well as all the favors and fees that the Zionists got.

  • Yadja

    This is so wide eyes open to the world. Why is it that nobody dares to connect the dots? O since first day in office began the work to take America down. Now it is hindsight. Easy peesy to connect the dots. Closing Gitmo, stopping the Military Tribunals, changing the Rules of Engagement, having us read Miranda Rights to those caught downrange killing us. Libya and his influence in Egypt and pushing Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi. Allowing 150,000 Muslims a year into America from the worst countries since 2008, allowing all the illegals to run across our borders, by the millions now in America. How deaf, dumb and blind are the American people?

    Yes he has Drastically Changed the Face of America. On our websites now we see Muslims talking how they have always been a part of America. Putting themselves into our history from the Founding Fathers on. Telling people Sharia Law compatible with our Constitution, telling people Allah the same God as Jews and Christians when common sense tells you if that were so we would not have massive killings of Christians and Jews throughout the world today and infidels.

    OY VEY Time to take down the tents and clean out the cages Trump is going to win by a Landslide and if he teams up with Rubio or Cruz it will be the biggest win in the history of this country.

    You can fool the fools some of the time but O has not fooled the American Red Bloodied, Patriotic people.

    • Clea Belcher

      Obama and Kerry have blamed Israel first and endangered Israel first regarding Iran.
      Their priorities are not even to protect the interests of the US first. This is what is amazing. They grovel before Iran and sympathize with the poor, frustrated Palestinians and give priority to unscreened immigrants to the US. They recoil at the saying “America first.” But that is their sworn responsibility, to put the interests and welfare of the US first. This is another saying they recoil at: They are unpatriotic.

  • nelson marans

    The recent about face on increasing sanctions on Iran by President Obama, as demanded by Congress, only shows the duplicity of our president when dealing with the American public on the the subject of a terror supporting Iran. There is no action by Iran, no matter how outrageous that will cause our president to act against that nation and Iran knows it.

  • As long as OBAMA is in the Whitehouse the Whitehouse will continue to tuck its tail between its legs and continue to support the Islamic cause.

  • Mordecai Ben Natan

    Thanks to the Muslim in the White House, he, with the idiot, Kerry, has given Iran the go ahead to produce nuclear weapons to destroy Israel and 6 million Jews.\\

    My prayers are that when Obama is no longer in the WH, ivestigations will be made against him for all the crimes he has committed while he was POTUS>
    I hope he will we forced to show his real birth certificate, which, if proven that he was not a natural born American that every evil thing he has done, will annul every law etc that he created, will send to jail for life.

    my other big wish is that the witch, Hilary will never ever occupy the WH,.

  • the Bric nations are doing business with Iran and it is impossible to implement the economic sanctions. So as told by israel they ought to have carried out military strikes but they did not do it. but Mr Putin is very active and he would strike without bothering about anybody. So america under president Obama is a total failure

  • Howard Kahan

    The Iranian president knows exactly who he is dealing with. This spineless thing we call a president also knows what he is doing. He is committing Israel and the U.S., he hopes, to an embarrassment that only obama would like to see. You see this thing we call a President, hates this country and will do all he can to destroy it. I am not sure that even Kerry is capable of understanding what going on. Kerry is a simpleton, but I am not defending him.

  • Dorothy Nicolazzo

    High school discipline 101:
    Do not waver in one’s resolve to identify
    bad behavior and rectify via appropriate
    actions. Indecision breeds contempt.

  • aswanash alehim

    sah washna seh ma ashna

    imri

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