By Jim Campbell
November 25th, 2018
Iran’s top diplomat, Mohammad Javad Zarif, is so off the mark as he waxes on about President Trump’s breaking by the treaty put in place by Barrack Obama and John Kerry.
Listening to him speak, reminds us of listening to Obama.
Both are completely clueless, but at the moment Obama’s actions with “O.F.A.” make him a bigger immediate threat that Iran.
If President Trump chose to do so he could fly in using stealth bombers, taking out their command and control facilities followed by non nuclear bunker busting bombs being laid down in carpet bombing until Iran becomes an existential threat to no one.
Who are they going to complain to, certainly not their Arab brothers in the immediate vicinity, they hate Iran for its destabilizing effect on their region.
“SANCTIONS ARE COMING,” President Trump said in advance of the remaining set of U.S. sanctions against Iran that are coming back into force on November 5th.
Lifted under the disastrous Obama nuclear deal with Iran that the Trump administration exited last May, these re-imposed sanctions will target Iran’s energy, shipping, and shipbuilding sectors, and transactions with the Central Bank of Iran as well as with other Iranian banks.
The aim is to dry up revenues the Iranian regime uses to fund not only its nuclear program, but also its continued development and launching of ballistic missiles that transgress the same United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 that had endorsed the nuclear deal itself, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The Iranian regime has also used revenues gained from the JCPOA’s lifting of the sanctions to finance terrorists world-wide rather than to relieve the financial hardships of its own people.
That is all about to change.
“Our objective is to force the regime into a clear choice: either abandon its destructive behavior or continue down the path toward economic disaster,” President Trump said in a statement issued last Friday.
The sanctions that are being re-imposed are tough.
With few exceptions, any government or business entities importing Iranian oil or otherwise violating the sanctions, including via barter arrangements, will be subject to stringent U.S. financial penalties.
However, the sanctions will exempt for humanitarian reasons the sale of food, medicine, medical devices, and agricultural commodities to Iran.
Moreover, the Trump administration has decided to grant temporary waivers to eight countries, including South Korea, Japan, and India.
The purpose is to avoid an immediate spike in oil prices that would occur if oil exports from Iran were virtually eliminated overnight, and to soften the blow to allies in Asia whose economies could be seriously imperiled by an immediate shut-off of their oil purchases from Iran upon which they have been dependent.
The full list of countries excludes the European Union as a whole, which has 28 members. Two of the eight countries receiving the temporary waivers will completely cut off imports of Iranian oil in a matter of weeks, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The other six, he said, will “greatly” reduce their imports. All countries receiving the temporary waivers must reapply for extended exemptions beyond six months.
China, the largest purchaser of Iranian oil, has also been mentioned as a possible recipient of a temporary waiver. Such a move is hard to justify unless the Trump administration has concluded it must pay this price for China’s ironclad agreement to verifiably implement all the multilateral sanctions in place against North Korea and not transfer by ship any oil received from Iran or other sources to North Korea.
Whatever the reason, any temporary waiver granted to China must be fully reversible at any time for any reason.
If granted, the waiver should be used as leverage in trade negotiations with China and be pulled immediately for any violation by China of the multilateral sanctions against North Korea.
Even with the temporary waivers, “Goldman Sachs said it expects Iran’s crude exports to fall to 1.15 million barrels per day by the end of the year,” CNBC reported.
By way of comparison, Iran’s crude oil exports were reported to be at a level of 2.4 million barrels per day in May 2018, the month that President Trump announced his decision to withdraw the United States from the nuclear deal and to re-impose U.S. sanctions.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei lashed out against President Trump on Saturday.
“This new US president … has disgraced the remnant of America’s prestige and that of liberal democracy. America’s hard power, that is to say their economic and military power, is declining too,” he said.
“The challenge between the US and Iran has lasted for 40 years so far, and the US has made various efforts against us: military, economic and media warfare.
There’s a key fact here: in this 40-year challenge, the defeated is the US and the victorious is the Islamic republic.”
The facts belie Khamenei’s spurious claim.
While the U.S. economy is stronger than ever, Iran’s economy is in a free-fall.
During the last year, the Iranian rial has lost about 70 percent of its value. Iran’s inflation rate reached nearly 37 percent in October, and more than 100 companies have already decided to cease doing business with Iran.
More are sure to follow as all the sanctions are fully implemented, despite efforts by governments in Western Europe and elsewhere to prop up the Iranian regime and save the nuclear deal charade.
The Iranian regime is counting on lifelines from other countries, including from Western Europe. Indeed, the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, issued a statement on Friday of support for the Iranian nuclear deal, joined by the foreign and finance ministers of France, Germany and Britain.
They said they regretted President Trump’s decision to restore all U.S. sanctions on Iran. “Our aim is to protect European economic actors who have legitimate commercial exchanges with Iran, in line with European legislation and the United Nations’ Security Council Resolution 2231,” Ms. Mogherini and the foreign ministers and finance ministers of the three countries said.
They “committed to work on, inter alia, the preservation and maintenance of effective financial channels with Iran, and the continuation of Iran’s export of oil and gas.”
To that end, the European Union is creating a special purpose vehicle to facilitate payments related to Iran’s exports (including oil) and imports.
The Europeans, along with China and Russia – the other parties to the Iran nuclear deal besides the United States – insist that Iran has fully complied with its commitments under the deal.
“The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed in twelve consecutive reports that Iran is abiding by its commitments under the Agreement,” the European ministers said in their joint statement.
The United Nations, all the way up to its Secretary General António Guterres, has also stood behind the work of its inspectors at the IAEA without any reservations and called for the preservation of the nuclear deal.
Talking about export sanctions, it’s a pity that we can’t bar Farrakhan from re-entering the US. If he was forced to stay in Iran they’d eventually hang him for heresy.
That’s a Ten Four, Over and out. I don’t know why the State Department doesn’t cancel his passport. Likely the U.S. Constitution.