U.S. officials said Tuesday that an interim deal with Iran that promises to curb its nuclear program in exchange for some relief from economic sanctions does not mean that Tehran is open for business.
Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman and David Cohen, undersecretary for terrorism and financing, acknowledged that European businesses are rushing to Iran to prepare for the possibility that all sanctions will be lifted if a comprehensive agreement is reached preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
Both Sherman and Cohen sought to reassure members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — some of whom are eager to restore sanctions against Iran — that the U.S. will continue to enforce existing sanctions even as some are being eased and that those who violate them will be targeted.
The relief from sanctions should give Iran another $7 billion. The more Iran benefits, the less incentive it will have to negotiate a final agreement, Mark Dubowitz, director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said, adding that he fears both Tehran and Washington will keep extending the six-month interim deal.
He said that despite the administration's best efforts to enforce the existing sanctions regime, "Greed drives markets."
"And if greed overrides fear, every company armed with a battery of lawyers or an army of lawyers is going to find a way back into Iran, despite the best assurances of David Cohen and others."