Clinton Hints China May Receive Sanctions Waiver
Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has said that China appears to be complying with US sanctions on Iranian oil, and decreasing Iranian imports (Reuters 6/20). Clinton said Iran was “very much with us in the international arena [on Iran]”, and that China was moving in a similar direction to India, Japan, and South Korea, all of whom have already received waivers (RealClearPolitics 6/20).
Israel “Relieved” Following Talks in Moscow
Ephraim Kam, a fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies in Israel, said, “’My feeling is there’s a kind of relief on part of the Government of Israel’” over the P5+1’s unwillingness to compromise (WSJ 6/20).
Iranian Economic Woes Cause Rial to Falter
Omid Karimian, a member of the Iranian parliament’s economic committee, said recent fluctuations in the value of the Iranian rial “‘are testimonies to the lack of solidity of our economy,’” in a statement to the Tehran-based newspaper, Shargh (Bloomberg 6/21). The dollar was worth 18,300 rials yesterday, up 270 rials from the day before, although Iran’s central bank only realizes an “official” exchange rate of 12,260 rials per dollar (Bloomberg 6/21).
ISIS Suspicious of Further Activity at Parchin
The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) published new satellite images, which it says depicts further removal of earth and clean up at the Iranian Parchin military site, which ISIS claimed had been “sanitized” last month (Reuters 6/20). The International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano said gaining access to the Parchin military complex “remains a ‘matter of priority’” (Bloomberg 6/21).
However, Robert Kelley, a nuclear engineer and former IAEA director of inspections, disputes ISIS’s claims, stating Iran’s alleged sanitation activities have occurred “outside and adjacent to the site in question” and that traces of uranium could be found by the IAEA even if the area was “sanitized” (Arms Control Wonk 6/15; SIPRI 5/23).
Notable Opinion: “The Perils of Tough Talk”
Shibley Telhami of The American Interest explains Democratic and Republican framing of Iran’s threat to the U.S. is important in an election year:
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Part of the problem for this Administration and the next is a proposition that has been adopted by large majorities of both Democrats and Republicans: that Iran’s nuclear program is essentially the greatest strategic threat the United States faces today. Because both parties have concluded that it is too risky for the United States to live with an Iran that has nuclear weapons capability, Washington finds itself on a slippery slope toward war, barring a major diplomatic breakthrough that takes the issue off the front burner if not off the agenda altogether.
There is of course a big difference between a stated willingness to use force against Iran if all other options fail and an actual decision to wage war. That difference opens up space for conflicting judgments about, for example, what constitutes a final failure of diplomatic options, or how much time there is before various levels of attack degrade in effectiveness. Into this space, too, politics will inevitably stride.