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Monday, March 28, 2016

If You Thought Obama Was Done Making Concessions to Iran...

One of the arguments critics of the Iran deal made during last year's debate was that beyond the staggering immediate concessions to Iran, the deal paves the way for ongoing and future concessions. The reason is that the reality of the agreement leaves the U.S. hamstrung by fear that Iran can use anything as a pretext to pull out of the deal. We're now starting to see this play out, as Obama administration officials are signaling that they may provide additional sanctions relief to address Iranian complaints, even though they promised Congress no such relief would ever be provided.

Specifically, the Associated Press reports that the U.S. government could be on the verge of a major capitulation: "The Obama administration is leaving the door open to new sanctions relief for Iran, including possibly long-forbidden access to the U.S. financial market."

Last summer, as the deal was being debated, administration officials told Congress that this would never happen as a way of reassuring skeptics who feared that the entire sanctions regime against Iran was being unraveled. Plenty of layers of sanctions still remained to pressure Iran, the administration argued.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew insisted to Congress that under the deal Iran would "be denied access to the world's largest financial and commercial market."

When asked if this was still the case, Lew said the U.S. may take future action to "make sure Iran gets relief." The Treasury Department told the AP, "We will continue to analyze the sanctions lifting and its effects."


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