So far so good for the Islamic Republic. Per Taheri, Britain now has lifted the ban on 22 Iranian banks and their companies which had been blacklisted because of alleged involvement in nuclear-linked deals; German trade with Iran is up 33 percent; China has signed deals to help Iran build five more nuclear reactors; Russia has commenced delivering S300 anti-aircraft missile systems and is angling to sell planes to the Islamic Republic; and France has sent its foreign minister and a 100-strong delegation to negotiate big business deals. Nations that weren’t in the P5+1 are also scrambling to get into the act. Indian trade with Iran is up 17 percent, for example. And the country’s nuclear project? It is “fully intact,” the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Akbar Salehi, said in October.
And with international inspectors last week certifying that Iran has, thus far, complied with the provisions of the agreement, oil and financial sanctions on the country were officially lifted and as much as $100 billion of its frozen assets were released. That all marks a substantial payoff for a deal whose ongoing strictures on Iran are, essentially, nonbinding. And the Islamic Republic was able to leverage the release of five Americans it had unjustly held, getting clemency for seven Iranians who had been at minimum charged and in many cases convicted in actual credible judicial proceedings, not to mention having 14 others removed from international most-wanted lists. U.S. officials have insisted that this doesn’t set a precedent, just as they once objected to the very idea of an exchange (even though it’s the second time it has cut such a deal with the Iranians), but it looks for all the world like an exchange rate has been established.
We’ll be paying for the consequences of this deal for a long, long time.