Seeking Alpha observes that the Iranian regime has spent much time and effort on asserting itself as potentially the predominant power in the Middle East, both politically and militarily. The site concludes that the removal of sanctions – and by extension by investors to force the removal of sanctions – will further solidify Tehran’s grip on power and make it more formidable on the global stage.
Yet analysts have been warning for some months that the danger of empowering Iran has not even stopped European investors, much less Iran’s closer partners, from pursuing business opportunities in the currently-sanctioned country.
This is a problem that is recognized by the Obama administration, as evidenced by a Reuters report on Wednesday that pointed out that the administration was urging India and other nations to take their economic outreach to Iran slowly until a nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers is actually concluded.
“We understand that nobody wants to be last in line, everybody wants to be first in line, if the sanctions do get relieved,” said Undersecretary of State and lead US nuclear negotiator Wendy Sherman. The administration was primarily responding to recent talks between India and Iran regarding potential joint gas field development and expanded trade ties.
Although the administration has been making every effort to conclude the nuclear deal by its June 30 deadline and by some accounts has given away considerable concessions to an intransigent Iranian negotiating team, Obama and his advisors continue to emphasize that a deal is not a foregone conclusion and that hasty action by world powers could further complicate the process.
The Obama administration does indeed appear to be acting on the assumption that a deal may not be concluded, insofar as it is continuing to enforce existing economic sanctions, even at a time when some 10 billion dollars in frozen assets have been released to Iran just for its remaining at the negotiating table.
This is something that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif bitterly criticized in a speech at New York University on Wednesday. According to Zee News, Zarif described such enforcement as a “lack of good faith” in America’s implementation of the interim nuclear agreement. He further suggested that Iran alone has fulfilled every aspect of its own obligations. However, the US Treasury Department’s sanctions enforcement measures have come in response to attempts by Iran and certain business partners to circumvent the legal restrictions imposed upon the regime at least until such time as the nuclear issue is fully resolved.