U.S. Aims to Reassure Israel on Iran Sanctions

Diane Barnes, Global Security Newswire
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Diane Barnes, Global Security Newswire
Dec. 5, 2013, 8:02 a.m.

WASH­ING­TON — U.S. Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry on Thursday at­temp­ted to re­as­sure Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Net­an­yahu that key sanc­tions would re­main in force against Ir­an’s dis­puted nuc­le­ar pro­gram un­der an in­ter­im ac­cord ne­go­ti­ated by Tehran and six oth­er gov­ern­ments.

The agree­ment, un­veiled in Geneva last month, com­mits Ir­an to en­act a range of six-month curbs on atom­ic activ­it­ies that could sup­port de­vel­op­ment of a nuc­le­ar-arms cap­ab­il­ity. In ex­change, Wash­ing­ton and five oth­er gov­ern­ments are ex­pec­ted to grant the Middle East­ern na­tion up to $7 bil­lion in re­lief from pun­it­ive eco­nom­ic meas­ures, in part by lift­ing cer­tain re­stric­tions on Ir­a­ni­an pet­ro­leum rev­en­ues held in over­seas ac­counts.

After meet­ing privately with Kerry on Thursday, Net­an­yahu said he has “ex­pressed … con­cern since Geneva that the sanc­tions would be­gin to un­ravel” as a res­ult of the half-year agree­ment.

“Steps must be taken to pre­vent fur­ther erosions of sanc­tions,” the Is­raeli lead­er said, ac­cord­ing to a State De­part­ment tran­script of his com­ments.

Kerry countered that the most crit­ic­al Ir­an pen­al­ties are still in ef­fect. The Per­sian Gulf power is sub­ject to pun­it­ive lan­guage in four U.N. Se­cur­ity Coun­cil res­ol­u­tions, as well as nu­mer­ous meas­ures en­acted by the United States, the European Uni­on and oth­ers.

“We say to any coun­try that con­tem­plates mov­ing ahead of sanc­tions, don’t, be­cause those sanc­tions will con­tin­ue to be en­forced,” the top U.S. dip­lo­mat said. “The fun­da­ment­al sanc­tions re­gime of oil and bank­ing re­mains ab­so­lutely in place.”

He ad­ded that the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion would bol­ster its im­ple­ment­a­tion of ex­ist­ing sanc­tions through the Treas­ury De­part­ment and oth­er fed­er­al agen­cies.

Mean­while, Ir­an’s top oil of­fi­cial ap­peared to voiced hope on Wed­nes­day that his na­tion would ex­pand its trade with the United States and European powers, the Wall Street Journ­al re­por­ted.

“We have no lim­it­a­tions for U.S. com­pan­ies,” Ir­a­ni­an Oil Min­is­ter Bi­jan Zan­ganeh said. He ad­ded that he would like to see his coun­try do busi­ness with the U.S. en­ergy gi­ants Chev­ron and Cono­co­Phil­lips.

This art­icle was pub­lished in Glob­al Se­cur­ity News­wire, which is pro­duced in­de­pend­ently by Na­tion­al Journ­al Group un­der con­tract with the Nuc­le­ar Threat Ini­ti­at­ive. NTI is a non­profit, non­par­tis­an group work­ing to re­duce glob­al threats from nuc­le­ar, bio­lo­gic­al, and chem­ic­al weapons.

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