Reuters: Obama admin all but gave up on prosecuting Iran sanctions violations after 2013

posted at 2:01 pm on October 5, 2015 by Ed Morrissey

Ever since John Kerry returned from Geneva with a piece of paper signed by Iran guaranteeing peace in our time, Barack Obama has been under fire for letting the Iranians off the hook. Obama has responded by claiming that his administration will get tough on verification to make sure the Iranians don’t cheat, and if they do, he’ll “snap back” the sanctions and the West will have lost no ground. However, Reuters has discovered that for the last two years the Obama administration has backed off sanctions enforcement — and not because Iran had suddenly became a good global citizen:

Addressing concerns that a landmark nuclear deal reached this year could boost Iran’s military power, the Obama administration reassured critics that it would maintain and enforce its remaining tough sanctions against the country.

Yet the U.S. government has pursued far fewer violations of a long-standing arms embargo against Iran in the past year compared to recent years, according to a review of court records and interviews with two senior officials involved in sanctions enforcement.

The sharp fall in new prosecutions did not reflect fewer attempts by Iran to break the embargo, the officials said. Rather, uncertainty among prosecutors and agents on how the terms of the deal would affect cases made them reluctant to commit already scarce resources with the same vigor as in previous years, the officials said.

The more relaxed enforcement raises questions over how strictly the arms embargo and other remaining sanctions will be applied in future, since the nuclear deal still needs to be implemented and Iran will likely remain sensitive to a tough sanctions regime.

The intent to protect the negotiations was explicit, as one e-mail in June of this year demonstrates:

One email that was sent during the height of the Iran negotiations this past summer indicated that the Obama administration was concerned about how the enforcement of the sanctions might affect the talks.

The email, sent in June 2015 by a US Treasury official to an official in New York’s Department of Financial Services expressed concern over an investigation related to Iran.

“Any actions that are taken in connection with sanctions violations pertaining to Iran may have serious impacts on the ongoing negotiations and U.S. foreign policy goals and objectives,” wrote the official, whose name was redacted in the email.

That seems like a far cry from Obama’s claims about his preparation for tough enforcement. In August, the White House sent a letter from Obama to Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), a skeptic of the deal, promising that Obama would be ready to crack down on Iranian violations at the drop of a hat:

While many of the promises have been made before by Mr. Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and others, White House officials say the letter represents the first time that the president himself has compiled them under his name and in writing. It commits explicitly to establishing an office within the State Department to carry out the nuclear accord.

In addition, Representative Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said that the letter expanded assurances that sanctions lifted under the nuclear accord could be reimposed piece by piece, not all at once, to keep Iran in compliance. Mr. Obama’s pledge to use the multinational commission policing the accord to block Iranian procurement of nuclear-related technology is new, as is the president’s explicit pledge “to enhance the already intensive joint efforts” of the United States and Israel in the region, said Mr. Schiff, a supporter of the deal.

“Should Iran seek to dash toward a nuclear weapon, all of the options available to the United States — including the military option — will remain available through the life of the deal and beyond,” Mr. Obama wrote.

Based on this track record, one has to wonder whether the Obama administration will recognize these violations when they occur. If they’re willing to forego prosecution of sanctions violations in an attempt to put together this deal, how willing would they be to set off the alarms and scotch the deal, and prove their critics correct? Don’t put money on it in Vegas.

The big news from the UN was the Obama-Zarif handshake backstage during the speeches. It’s a new era of cooperation, which a willful blind eye does so much to facilitate, yes?


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Comments

Scum

Neitherleftorright on October 5, 2015 at 2:04 PM

obama always sides with his bros, not his siblings.

Schadenfreude on October 5, 2015 at 2:05 PM

GOPe mega-donor Corker bill: 98-1!

kunegetikos on October 5, 2015 at 2:06 PM

I wish we could move the Obama library to the Middle East. Then ISIS could burn it down.

Oil Can on October 5, 2015 at 2:07 PM

It’s a new era of cooperation, which a willful blind eye does so much to facilitate, yes?


You are
, I trust, referring to the “blind eye” of the U.S. Senate Republican caucus that has ENABLED all of Obama’s lies.

Right?

/S

PolAgnostic on October 5, 2015 at 2:07 PM

The Iranian-Russian alliance will totally fruck obama and the USA.

obama will enjoy it.

Schadenfreude on October 5, 2015 at 2:11 PM

…I’ll have more flexibility after the election…

…he wasn’t kidding…

Pelosi Schmelosi on October 5, 2015 at 2:11 PM

There’s a story out there that’s getting almost zero coverage. In a speech before the U.N. General Assembly, the President of Argentina stated that the Obama regime tried to convince them to sell nuclear fuel to Iran. That’s right, nuclear fuel which is a necessary component to produce a nuclear weapon.

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2015/10/president-kirchner-obama-administration-tried-to-convince-us-to-sell-nuclear-fuel-to-iran-key-component-to-nuclear-bomb/

TarheelBen on October 5, 2015 at 2:12 PM

Obama won.

He won because the GOPe and media do not care…

mjbrooks3 on October 5, 2015 at 2:15 PM

Based on this track record, one has to wonder whether the Obama administration will recognize these violations when they occur.

I don’t think anybody is really wondering…he has no intention of interfering with Iran, not matter what they do…full stop.

AUINSC on October 5, 2015 at 2:16 PM

Liar!!!!

cmsinaz on October 5, 2015 at 2:22 PM

Based on this track record, one has to wonder whether the Obama administration will recognize these violations when they occur.

They won’t look. They won’t even pretend to look.

forest on October 5, 2015 at 2:24 PM

Rule Number ONE:
Whatever ValJar wants, ValJar GETS.

Rule Number TWO:
See Rule #1

Missilengr on October 5, 2015 at 2:30 PM

Val JarJar Jarret just making sure her peeps are enabled to wipe Israel off the map as they promised her they would do as soon as they have nuclear weapons.

oscarwilde on October 5, 2015 at 2:33 PM

I wish we could move the Obama library to the Middle East. Then ISIS could burn it down.

Oil Can on October 5, 2015 at 2:07 PM

Good idea. I say we move it to Mecca so that only Muzzielums can visit. That way it will last forever because reading and research is no longer a virtue in the Islamic State.
That is as OC suggests … they burn it down.
Anyone recall the story about the great library they use to have in Alexandria?

Missilengr on October 5, 2015 at 2:34 PM

President Valerie J. must have ordered it.

albill on October 5, 2015 at 3:08 PM

PolAgnostic on October 5, 2015 at 2:07 PM

No mention, ever, of the Obama / Iran deal should take place without directly referencing the craven perfidy of the vast majority of the GOP Senate Caucus who did for Obama (collaborate, enable, and legitimize) what Obama was doing for Iran regarding that nation’s nuclear weapons development efforts.

Nor should we forget that that same pathetic GOP Senate Caucus also signed off on the ceding of US sovereignty to the United Nations.

Athos on October 5, 2015 at 3:24 PM

I just really do not have enough ammo …

deepdiver on October 5, 2015 at 5:04 PM

Obama admin all but gave up on lots of things. Like doing anything for the middles / Lower classes, improving the economy, improving race relations, and so much more.

It was all just rhetoric to get him elected. Twice.

In some areas they just seemed to go idle. In other areas they seem to be acting intentionally in a negative direction, opposite of the things they promised.

Thanks Obama voters.

Oxymoron on October 5, 2015 at 5:38 PM