May 9, 2018


Trump wants to wring a 'better deal' from Iran.  (Nicholas Miller.  May 8, 2018, Washington Post)

[I]n 2009 the United States discovered that Iran had secretly constructed another enrichment facility at Fordow. Iran argued that it needed the plant to supply fuel for its nuclear reactors -- but rejected a diplomatic bargain that would have guaranteed a supply of nuclear fuel in exchange for shipping much of its low-enriched uranium out of the country.

In June 2010, the Security Council passed Resolution 1929, which imposed not just an arms embargo on Iran but also, for the first time, broader financial restrictions. After obstructing strong measures in the past, Russia finally agreed to impose enhanced sanctions. That change came largely because of the Fordow revelation, Iran's rejection of a diplomatic deal and Russia's short-lived desire to improve relations with Washington.

Over the next few years, the United States and European Union tightened the noose on the Iranian economy. The European Union banned investment in much of Iran's oil and gas industry, imposed an oil embargo and cut off Iran from the SWIFT financial network. Meanwhile, the United States imposed sweeping secondary sanctions, which effectively cut off entities that did business with Iran or did not reduce purchases of Iranian oil from using the U.S. financial system.

Collectively, these measures had a crushing effect on the Iranian economy, reducing Iranian oil exports by more than 50 percent and causing the Iranian economy to contract.

Even then, it's unlikely that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would have reached a deal. But in June 2013, Iranian voters replaced Ahmadinejad with Hassan Rouhani. Unlike his predecessor, Rouhani favored greater engagement with the West and supported compromising on the nuclear issue to end international sanctions. With the implicit backing of Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, Rouhani quickly reached an interim agreement with the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, signed in November 2013.

Posted by at May 9, 2018 2:39 PM