The U.S. says it will continue targeting Iranian support for terror even with the nuclear deal that is set to lift sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
U.S. Treasury acting undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes Adam Szubin testified Wednesday before a Senate Banking Committee on the matter along with Wendy Sherman, undersecretary of state for public affairs.
Szubin said it will take at least six to nine months for Iran to fulfill the necessary conditions for initial sanctions relief to begin. “It will take until at least 2022 — even with sanctions relief — for Iran to get back to where it would have been absent our sanctions,” he claimed. “Iran has foregone approximately $160 billion in oil revenue alone since 2012, after our sanctions reduced Iran’s oil exports by 60 percent. This money is lost and cannot be recovered,” Szubin said in written testimony.
In addition, if Iran is found to be violating any of its commitments under the deal, U.S. sanctions could be reimposed “in a matter of days,” he maintained.
“When the JCPOA goes into effect, there will be no immediate relief from UN, EU, or U.S. sanctions. There is no ‘signing bonus.’ Only if Iran fulfills the necessary nuclear conditions—which will roll back its nuclear program and extend its breakout time five-fold to at least one year—will the United States lift sanctions. We expect that to take at least six to nine months. Until Iran completes those steps, we are simply extending the limited relief that has been in place for the last year and a half under the Joint Plan of Action. There will not be a cent of new sanctions relief.
“Upon “Implementation Day,” when phased relief would begin, the United States will lift nuclear- related secondary sanctions targeting third-country parties conducting business with Iran, including in the oil, banking, and shipping sectors. These measures were imposed in response to the security threat from Iran’s nuclear program; accordingly, they will be suspended in exchange for verifiable actions to alleviate that threat.
“As we phase in nuclear-related sanctions relief, we will maintain and enforce significant sanctions that fall outside the scope of this deal, including our primary U.S. trade embargo. Our embargo will continue to prohibit U.S. persons from investing in Iran, importing or exporting to Iran most goods and services, or otherwise dealing with most Iranian persons and companies.
“Iranian banks will not be able to clear U.S. dollars through New York, hold correspondent account relationships with U.S. financial institutions, or enter into financing arrangements with U.S. banks. Nor will Iran be able to import controlled U.S.-origin technology or goods, from anywhere in the world. In short, Iran will continue to be denied access to the world’s principal financial and commercial market. The JCPOA provides for only minor exceptions to this broad prohibition.”
“As we address the most acute threat posed by Iran, its nuclear program, we will be aggressively countering the array of Iran’s other malign activities,” Szubin went on.
“The JCPOA in no way limits our ability to do so, and we have made our posture clear to both Iran and to our partners. This means that the United States will maintain and continue to vigorously enforce our powerful sanctions targeting Iran’s backing for terrorist groups such as Hezbollah.
“In the last two months alone, for example, we designated 11 Hezbollah military officials and affiliated companies and businessmen. We will also continue our campaign against Hezbollah’s sponsors in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force; Iran’s support to the Houthis in Yemen; its backing of Assad’s regime in Syria; and its domestic human rights abuses. We will also maintain the U.S. sanctions against Iran’s missile program and the IRGC writ large.
Hana Levi Julian