WASHINGTON – As the P5+1 negotiates with Iran over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, FDD released a new report outlining how Congress can help build a post-agreement sanctions architecture of effective enforcement and relief if a final deal meets key parameters. Co-authored by Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), and Richard Goldberg, former deputy chief of staff and senior foreign policy adviser to Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), the report is part of a series from the FDD Iran Sanctions Project's ongoing assessment of sanctions relief on Iran's economy.
Dubowitz and Goldberg argue that Iran's record of nuclear deception does not inspire confidence in Tehran's commitment to honor any final nuclear and ballistic missile agreement. If a final agreement does not meet a series of parameters that already has strong bipartisan support in Congress, the House and Senate should defend American sanctions against Iran and resist pressure to trade sanctions relief for a bad deal. However, should an acceptable agreement be reached that fully addresses Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs, Congress must play a role, in cooperation with the Obama administration, to construct and oversee a smart sanctions architecture of effective enforcement and relief.
The report outlines a 12-point roadmap on how to construct sanctions relief in a way that is carefully sequenced, creates a permissible financial channel to facilitate trade without expunging Iran's record of illicit financial activities, suspends select sanctions that can be "snapped-back" in the event of Iranian non-compliance, and requires both Presidential certifications and Congressional approvals. This architecture should deter and punish Iranian non-compliance with such an agreement; provide a vital enforcement mechanism to support a monitoring, verification, and inspection regime; and curb Iran's support for terrorism and its abuse of human rights.
"Congressional leaders must remain clear-eyed about the nature of the Iranian regime in order to structure any sanctions relief in a way that ensures compliance with a nuclear and ballistic missile agreement and pressures the regime to end all illicit activities," said Dubowitz. "Congress can justifiably claim credit for its role in designing many of the toughest sanctions that forced Tehran to the negotiation table – it should now assert its prerogative in helping to defend the core sanctions architecture it built and provide smart sanctions relief after a final deal."
Dubowitz and Goldberg also make the case for maintaining specific financial sanctions in order to protect the integrity of the global financial system until Iran demonstrates that its entire financial sector, including the Central Bank of Iran, has turned the corner on a long rap sheet of financial crimes in support of proliferation, terrorism, money laundering, and other illicit activities. They argue that all sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps should be maintained until Iran is no longer a state sponsor of terrorism and that the IRGC is no longer involved in the full range of illicit activities under U.S. law. Dubowitz and Goldberg praise the Obama administration for its stated commitment to enforce terrorism and human rights sanctions against Iran regardless of any nuclear and ballistic missile agreement and encourage Congress to enhance these measures until Iran ceases its support for terrorism and ends its vast system of domestic repression.\
About the Foundation for Defense of Democracies
The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) is a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)3 policy institute focusing on foreign policy and national security. Founded in 2001, FDD combines policy research, democracy and counterterrorism education, strategic communications and investigative journalism in support of its mission to promote pluralism, defend democratic values and fight the ideologies that drive terrorism.