Iran's strategic mastermind got a huge boost from the nuclear deal
As a result of the deal, Qasem Suleimani, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Qods Force and the general responsible for overseeing Iran's network of proxy organizations, will be removed from European Union sanctions lists once the agreement is implemented, and taken off a UN sanctions list after eight or fewer years.Iran obtained some key concessions as a result of the nuclear agreement, including access to an estimated $150 billion in frozen assets; the lifting of a UN arms embargo, the eventual end to sanctions related to the country's ballistic missile program; the ability to operate over 5,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges and to run stable elements through centrifuges at the once-clandestine and heavily guarded Fordow facility; nuclear assistance from the US and its partners; and the ability to stall inspections of sensitive sites for as long as 24 days. In light of these accomplishments, the de-listing of a general responsible for coordinating anti-US militia groups in Iraq - someone who may be responsible for the deaths of US soldiers - almost seems gratuitous.
Like Suleimani's removal, Bank Saderat's apparent legalization in Europe suggests that for the purposes of the deal, the US and its partners lumped a broad range of restrictions under the heading of "nuclear-related" sanctions.Suleimani and Bank Saderat are still going to remain under US sanctions related to the Iranian regime's human rights abuses and support for terrorism. US sanctions have broad extraterritorial reach, and the US Treasury Department has turned into the scourge of compliance desks at banks around the world. But that matters to a somewhat lesser degree inside of the EU, where companies have actually been exempted from complying with certain US "secondary sanctions" on Iran since the mid-1990s.
The result is that the US kept the law on the books, but scaled back their implementation in Europe. Then-President Bill Clinton "negotiated an agreement under which the United States would not impose any ISLA sanctions
on European firms - much to Congress' dismay."
And in November 1996, the Council of Europe adopted a resolution protecting European companies from the reach of US law. The resolution authorized "blocking recognition or enforcement of decisions or judgments giving effect to the covered laws," effectively canceling the extraterritoriality of certain US sanctions on European soil (although legal exposure continued for European companies with enough of a US presence to put them under American jurisdiction). In past disputes, companies inside of Europe have had an EU-authorized waiver for complying with US secondary sanctions.In a post-deal environment in which European companies are eager investors in a far less diplomatically isolated Iran, the 1996 spat could be a sign of things to come, as well as a guideline for smoothing out disputes over US sanctions enforcement in Europe.
The result is the almost complete reversal of the sanctions regime in Europe. "If you look at the competing annexes, the European list is much more comprehensive and there are going to be significant differences between the designation lists that are maintained," Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Business Insider. "The Europeans look as if they're about to just open up entirely to Iran."Iran successfully pushed for a broad definition of "nuclear-related sanctions," and bargained hard - and effectively - for a maximal degree of sanctions relief.
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