In eight years or less, the US and the EU will be lifting sanctions on Iranian scientists, military officials, and companies suspected of developing nuclear weapons, according to a Wall Street Journal report on Wednesday. Sanctions will be lifted from a German engineer convicted of supplying centrifuge parts to A.Q. Khan’s black market network, which is known to have illicitly sold nuclear equipment to North Korea, Iran, and Libya. Sanctions will also be removed from an Iranian company that secretly ran a uranium enrichment facility, and a university accused of supplying scientists involved in weaponization work. The Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND) and its head, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who are responsible for researching and developing technology for nuclear weapons, will also be free of sanctions. The Department of State designated them last August for engaging in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repeatedly tried to interview Fakhrizadeh as part of its mandate to clarify the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program, but the agency’s demands have always been rejected.
The Wall Street Journal editorial board rhetorically asks why the White House “would be willing to forgive egregious nuclear proliferators in the name of nuclear non-proliferation.” Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce (R-Calif.) remarked that the administration’s acquiescence “would remove sanctions on those responsible for Iran’s nuclear weapons development at the same time restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program come off. That’s a deadly combination.”
The day after the deal was reached, President Obama claimed that “restrictions on ballistic missile technology will remain for eight years.” However, the new UN Security Council resolution passed on Monday (which replaces past resolutions meant to sanction Iran’s illicit nuclear and ballistic missile activities) contains non-binding language that could allow Iran to continue ballistic missile-related activities during the next eight years, before remaining restrictions expire.
Additionally, in eight years or less, the UN will also be removing sanctions against Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force, which provides arms and training for terror groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas.
More Americans disapprove than approve of the deal struck last week by the U.S., Iran and five other nations to limit Iran’s nuclear program: Among the 79% of Americans who have heard about the agreement, just 38% approve, while 48% disapprove (14% do not offer an opinion).
There is widespread skepticism about aspects of the agreement, particularly the Iranian leadership’s commitment to the terms of the deal: Most of those familiar with the agreement say they have not too much (35%) or no confidence at all (38%) that Iran’s leaders will uphold their side of the agreement. And while there is greater confidence in the U.S. and international agencies’ ability to monitor Iran’s compliance, 54% are not too (33%) or not at all (21%) confident, while a smaller share (45%) express at least a fair amount of confidence in their ability.
Additionally, only 25% of those polled believe that the JCPOA will lead to better relations between the United States and Iran. Since the deal was announced last week, top Iranian officials have been lashing out at the United States and saying that they will not abide by the terms of the agreement.
A poll earlier this year found that 77% of Americans see a nuclear Iran as being a threat to the United States. In April, a Quinnipac poll found that nearly two thirds of Americans favored a Congressional review of any nuclear deal agreed to with Iran. (via TheTower.org)