For Immediate Release: November 2, 2018
Contact: Brett Abrams | firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON, DC — At midnight on Monday, President Trump’s snapback of nuclear-related sanctions on Iran will be finalized. While a portion of the sanctions previously waived under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) came back into force on August 7, the November 5 tranche of Iran sanctions includes many of the most impactful sanctions to be levied on Iran, including those targeting Iran’s energy and financial sectors.
The decision by the United States to violate the Iran nuclear deal and reinstate sanctions has already caused economic pain for Iran’s population of 80 million. However, Iran has ruled out negotiations with the Trump administration for the foreseeable future.
Jamal Abdi, President of the National Iranian American Council, a leading voice for the Iranian-American community and expert on US-Iranian relations, issued the following statement reacting to the implementation of snapback sanctions against Iran:
“These sanctions are a slap in the face to the Iranian people who have been squeezed between the repression of their government and the pressure of international sanctions for decades. Impoverishing ordinary Iranians will not hurt the regime or achieve any of America’s security interests, but it will set back the Iranian people’s aspirations for years to come.
“The Obama administration left a playbook for how to secure concessions from Iran through patient, multilateral diplomacy. Unfortunately, Trump and his team have ripped the diplomatic playbook to shreds, opting for policies that echo the drumbeat for war that led up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
“Trump, his war cabinet and regional cheerleaders in Benjamin Netanyahu and Mohammed bin Salman do not have the Iranian or American people’s best interests at heart. Instead, they are blowing up an agreement that supports U.S. interests and the aspirations of the Iranian people while planting the seeds for a disastrous war. The U.S. must reverse course before irreparable harm is done to the Iranian people, regional security and America’s international standing.”
In a memo to U.S. lawmakers, the National Iranian American Council warns that the snapback of sanctions on Iran has precipitated a crisis in slow motion, threatening a range of U.S. national interests and tying America closer to the destabilizing campaigns of Saudi Arabia. In the memo, NIAC warns that the blowback from sanctions reimposition will:
Increase the Risks of an Iranian Nuclear Weapon
- Trump’s snapback of nuclear-related sanctions has eviscerated Iran’s benefit for complying with the JCPOA, increasing the risk of Iran halting its compliance with the accord and moving closer to a nuclear weapon.
- The re-designation of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) threatens to disrupt international work to reduce proliferation risks at the Arak heavy water reactor and deeply buried Fordow facility.
Raise the Risk of War
- Trump’s advisors John Bolton and Mike Pompeo have pushed for war with Iran as an alternative to negotiations, as have Iran’s regional rivals who have increased sway with the Trump administration.
- A spark for a military confrontation could come from several directions in the absence of diplomacy with Iran – whether over Iran’s nuclear program, regional tensions or a naval confrontation in the Persian Gulf.
Isolate the United States
- The U.S. is in material breach of the UN Security Council-endorsed JCPOA, which all other parties to the accord – including our allies in Britain, France and the European Union (EU) – are seeking to keep alive.
- JCPOA participants and Iran are seeking to establish independent payment channels, with ramifications that could undercut U.S. dominance of the global financial system and the power of U.S. secondary sanctions far into the future.
Raise Oil Prices
- President Trump has repeatedly called on Saudi Arabia and Russia to pump more oil to offset Iranian oil that has been taken off the market, reducing spare capacity that could be key to respond to any emergency.
- Iranian oil cannot be offset forever, and a crisis risks soaring oil prices and substantial harm for American consumers.
Increase U.S. reliance on Saudi Arabia
- At a time when Saudi Arabia appears to be an increasingly unsavory partner for the U.S. after the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Trump administration has pigeonholed itself into an approach to the Middle East that relies on Saudi Arabia.
- Overlooking Saudi Arabia’s crimes to pressure Iran bears eerie resemblance to America’s early backing of Saddam Hussein throughout the Iran-Iraq war. A more balanced approach to the region is needed.
Undercut Moderate Forces in Iran
- Trump’s Iran sanctions are likely to crush the Iranian middle class and private sector, unleashing economic desperation in the country and limiting prospects for internal moderation.
- Iran’s hardliners have been vindicated by Trump’s decision to violate the JCPOA and snap back sanctions, and will benefit from sanctions that crush forces for moderation while leaving them relatively unscathed.
Trigger a Humanitarian Crisis in Iran
- Sanctions on Iran under the Obama administration triggered shortages of key life-saving medicines and contributed to the impoverishment of ordinary Iranians by depressing the economy and increasing the cost of basic goods. Similar effects are already being felt from Trump’s snapback.
- The Trump administration has already targeted private Iranian financial institutions that facilitated humanitarian transactions, raising the risk of further humanitarian crises in the months ahead and more damage to American credibility.
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The National Iranian American Council is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the voice of Iranian Americans and promoting greater understanding between the American and Iranian people.