This Deal Keeps Getting Worse All the Time

"Your cudgel is waiting, sir." (AP photo)

“Your cudgel is waiting, sir.”
(AP photo)

The Russians are a “Nyet!” on immediately reimposing sanctions on Iran, if they are found to be out of compliance with any nuclear deal:


Vitaly Chukrin, Russia’s United Nations ambassador, told Bloomberg News on Wednesday that “there can be no automaticity, none whatsoever” if Iran is found guilty of reneging on a pledge to dismantle and otherwise contain certain parts of its nuclear enrichment program. Iran maintains its nuclear ambitions are entirely peaceful and practical in nature, a position disputed by the West.

Churkin did not elaborate on the “no automacity” principle Wednesday, but a so-called sanctions snapback mechanism whereby economic sanctions would be immediately reimposed on Iran if it fails to comply with the agreement is seen by Washington as essential for any nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic.

On Tuesday, after Secretary of State John Kerry met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, the American diplomat said the two nations were “closely aligned” in their thinking on the negotiations.

Of course, “snap back” sanctions were always a chimera, a useful myth for selling an unpopular deal to the American public. Here’s what the Washington Post had to say about it last month:

This would be relatively straightforward for the sanctions imposed by the U.S., as Congress is eager to keep the pressure on. But it is far from clear whether President Barack Obama can guarantee such action at the United Nations, which has imposed wide-ranging penalties that all U.N. members must enforce.

At present, there’s no firm agreement to how or when to lift the sanctions in the first place. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, and President Hassan Rouhani said Thursday they want all sanctions lifted on the first day of implementation. That’s not the position of U.S. and other negotiators, a major issue that still must be worked out.

Assuming it can be, that still would leave the big question of possible re-imposition.


It took years of careful negotiations to get the UN to agree to the current sanctions regime, and once lifted it would take just as long to get the UN to re-impose them — assuming the member states were still interested.

And assuming Russia, with its veto power, wouldn’t enjoy having Iran as an even bigger and more threatening cudgel with which to beat us.

Any takers on that?


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