The Corner

Are More Iran Sanctions Necessary?

Secretary of State John Kerry expressed vehement opposition today to new congressional Iran sanctions, during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, saying it would be “gratuitous” for Congress to impose new sanctions at this sensitive stage with Iran.

Meanwhile, the Islamic Republic continues to enrich uranium as part of its illicit nuclear program. A group of bipartisan congressional representatives expressed deep skepticism about Iran’s willingness to abandon its illegal and aggressive work.

“We are facing an immoral and very dangerous regime in Iran, one nearing a nuclear weapon. I am hard pressed to understand why we’d be letting up sanctions pressure at the very time its economy is on the ropes without getting an agreement which stops its centrifuges from spinning,” the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Republican Ed Royce of California, said.

A new Pew Research/USA Today poll shows a heavy shift in American opinion against the deal that Kerry helped negotiate in Geneva providing for sanctions relief for Iran’s regime.

My FDD colleagues, Mark Dubowitz and Jonathan Schanzer , released a new report today on how auto sanctions relief contained in the Iran interim agreement, ostensibly about improving safety for civilians, will provide a huge shot in the arm for Iran’s struggling economy.

Their research shows, “Even if Iran’s auto sector contributed only ten percent of the sector’s previous $50 billion annual contribution in GDP to Iran’s overall economy, that would be worth $2.5 billion in additional economic activity over the next six months not included in the White House’s calculations.”

The interim Iran agreement is on very shaky ground — not least because it secures unexpectedly generous concessions for Iran.

— Benjamin Weinthal is a Berlin-based fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow Benjamin on Twitter @BenWeinthal.

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