It’s a great time to be Iran, it seems. You can launch ballistic missile tests, kidnap and imprison western journalists or take American sailors hostage with guns held to their heads and the President of the United States will… allow you to import civilian aircraft and export locally produced goods. The dust hadn’t even settled from the Secretary of State thanking Iran for the release of ten American sailors when the White House announced that some of the first sanctions on Tehran were being lifted. In this instance it’s a long standing ban on exporting civilian aircraft to them. (USA Today)

President Obama took another step toward implementing the Iran nuclear deal Friday, empowering the secretary of State to allow the export of civilian passenger aircraft to Iran…

In 2010, Congress granted Obama the authority to allow exports of goods, services, or technologies to Iran if he determines those sales “to be in the national interest.” On Friday, Obama delegated that authority to Secretary of State John Kerry through a presidential memorandum, a presidential directive similar to an executive order.

In a letter to Obama Friday, 13 Republican senators called for new sanctions on Iran for ballistic missile tests it conducted last year. “Iran’s belligerent actions have thus far gone unpunished,” said the letter, written by Sen. David Purdue, R-Ga.

In addition to importing aircraft, this concession will also allow them to resume the export of “certain carpets and rugs.” (Great news, home decorators!) Believe it or not, this is a separate deal from the sanctions which are in place over their nuclear program, but that’s on the way shortly as well.

“They have nearly completed their major nuclear steps, and that’s nothing to gloss over,” Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said at a luncheon hosted by Bloomberg News Friday. “It’s a significant rollback in the Iranian program.”

Rhodes said that the IAEA certification will trigger what’s known as “Implementation Day.”

Implementation day! It almost sounds like a holiday, doesn’t it? (I wonder if government workers here will get the day off?) It’s certainly going to be a holiday in Iran, since they’re on the verge of getting precisely what they wanted despite remaining one of the chief bad actors on the international stage. But we haven’t quite reached that celebratory moment yet. How long will it take before the paperwork is finished? It’s probably just a matter of days. (CNN)

The International Atomic Energy Agency is expected to release its report Saturday assessing Iran’s compliance with an agreement with foreign powers, including the United States and the European Union.

And the IAEA’s report is expected to corroborate Iranian compliance.

Doing so would herald “Implementation Day,” the formal name for the start of the next phase in the agreement called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which was hammered out with Iran in July. The new “Day” will mean the first wave of economic relief for Iran.

This bizarre and “nuanced” handling of sanctions – whether we’re talking about Iran, North Korea or anyone else – underscores the feckless nature of dancing with one’s enemies. So we have some sanctions which are specifically tied to their nuclear program, some associated with their ballistic missiles and others aimed at human rights abuses. (There apparently aren’t any for kidnapping American sailors.) As long as we’re dicing up the pie this way we can cancel some sanctions while leaving others in place?

Not for nothing, but that’s a bit like saying, you’re still beating wife and you’ve started beating your children, but at least you stopped kicking your dog so here’s a cookie. If Iran actually does start making progress across the board and acting more like a responsible member of the world community I’m sure that some sanctions could (and should) be lifted as the situation improves. But it hasn’t even been a week since they had guns to the heads of our sailors and took possession of two of our naval vessels. We’re seriously turning around and rewarding them with rich new economic activities and billions of dollars in relief? The broad lifting of these sanctions not only makes us look weak, but has a wide ranging effect on the rest of the world. One aspect of this phenomenon was already seen this week as oil prices tanked further on the prospect of additional Iranian crude flooding the market.

Yes, it’s a great day indeed… to be an Iranian. Should we really expect any of our allies to put their faith in us today?

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