US Secretary of State John Kerry has revealed that the Iran nuclear deal will limit the ability of Congress to impose new sanctions on the Islamic regime over its gamut of violations, as was first exposed on Thursday.
In an on-the-record letter in response to questions by Republican presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) that was obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, Kerry noted that theoretically Congress could impose new non-nuclear sanctions after the deal.
However, he said that in effect Congress would be rendered powerless, as Iran could take the sanctions as an excuse to forego the deal and therefore the administration would not back new sanctions.
According to the letter, not only would reimposing nuclear sanctions be near impossible, but imposing new sanctions on Iran's support of terror, its rampant human rights violations or its ballistic missile program will also be off limits.
Kerry wrote that the Obama administration won't back new Congressional moves against Iran, the leading state sponsor of terror.
He claimed the administration will "remain vocal about human rights violations in Iran," but that it would only "continue to enforce existing human rights sanctions," without supporting new sanctions.
Regarding nuclear sanctions, Kerry wrote that Congress won't have "free rein to simply re-impose tomorrow all of our nuclear-related sanctions under some other pretext…Iran would obviously see that as bad faith."
"We do not have free rein to re-impose nuclear-related sanctions without a credible rationale," he added.
A senior political strategist in Washington DC involved in Iran sanctions told the Washington Free Beacon that the Obama administration's decision to let Iran set the terms with its threat of leaving the deal makes no sense.
"You have to understand how crazy backwards this is," said the strategist on condition of anonymity.
"If you’re an Iranian general who is just involved in terrorism, we may be able to sanction you for that. But let’s say you’re an Iranian general who was involved in the nuclear program, and we designated you for that but now under the deal we’re delisting you. If you now switch to being an arch-terrorist, Congress can’t touch you because the Iranians will say we’re doing an end-run around the JCPOA (nuclear deal – ed.)."
Iran has made it clear that it will use any new sanctions against it to buck the nuclear deal – it threatened as much in a letter to the UN sent this July, in which it specified that non-nuclear sanctions will also be considered a pretext to end the deal.
The worry that the nuclear deal will let Iran off the hook on various sorts of violations only add to indications that US President Barack Obama has promised world leaders there will be no "snap back" sanctions for nuclear violations, despite his previous public promises to the contrary.
In response to the situation, opponents of the deal are exploring the option to sue Obama for not divulging the side deals between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and thereby block the lifting of sanctions to Iran, effectively undermining the nuclear deal.