Sunday, January 25, 2015

Three myths on Iran sanctions

Three 'myths' surrounding the sanctions on Iran being debated by the US Congress have been debunked by Alireza Jafarzadeh, deputy director of the Washington office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran,
Mr. Jafarzadeh said Congress is determined not to strike a bad deal with Iran in talks over the regime's nuclear program - but risks ignoring historical lessons about dealing with Tehran's mullahs.
The first myth is that more sanctions on Iran will prompt the regime to walk away from the talks, Mr Jafarzadeh said.
But he added: "Iran cannot afford to walk away because it is desperate and vulnerable. It has a genuine interest to secure the lifting of existing sanctions, which provided the initial impetus for the regime to talk. Then, too, cynics argued that sanctions would prompt Tehran to accelerate its nuclear activities.
"The regime is playing a game of attrition, aiming to weaken US resolve, win more concessions, and maintain its nuclear infrastructure. The bipartisan sanctions bill will force Tehran to consider speedy compliance."
Hassan Rouhani, president of the clerical regime’s, admitted recently that the regime's devastated economy could not endure further sanctions, especially after the recent decline in oil prices, he said.
He wrote on the Foxnews website: "The mullahs are paranoid of a disenchanted population already on edge. With rampant unemployment, inflation, and loss of oil revenues, walking away from the talks is not an option, especially if a sanctions-in-waiting bill is hovering over their head."
The second myth was that more sanctions would provoke Tehran into blaming Washington for sabotaging diplomacy and starting on a path towards war.
He added: "Even with slumping oil revenues - slashed by at least 45% - the official defense budget has jumped 30%, mostly allocated to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
"And, more money is being funnelled into Syria and Iraq to execute Tehran's designs - a budget that is twice that of all the country's publicly funded universities combined.
"If sanctions fail to force Tehran to abandon key parts of its nuclear program after over a year of negotiations, then continued talks with no additional leverage will fail as well.
"Senior US officials have repeatedly stated that even without additional sanctions the chances for reaching an agreement with Iran is less that 50 percent. So, as Iran tries to wear out western negotiators, clearly, additional leverage from Congress is necessary, not counterproductive."
The third myth was that new sanctions would strengthen hard-liners in Iran who want to sabotage a prospective deal.
He added: "This is perhaps the most enduring myth in Washington that has dangerously infected Iran policy. The idea that there are moderate elements in Iran's body politic, and the US needs to reach out to them by making more concessions is ludicrous.
"The oft-cited dichotomy between 'hard-liners' and 'moderates' in Iran badly misrepresents a system whose elements are united in their strategic objectives.
"Rouhani, himself a long-time confidant of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, was instructed by the latter to sign onto the Joint Plan of Action in November 2013. Foreign Minister Zarif told the Iranian Parliament earlier this month that he has the full trust of Khamenei to continue the negotiations.
"Experience has shown that diplomacy without leverage has never worked with dictators, especially in Tehran.
"This puts Congress on the right path. The sanctions bill can be a game-changer. It will strengthen Washington's hand while helping to peacefully arrest Tehran's advance towards the bomb. One thing is for certain: Tehran's nuclear objective is anything but a myth."

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