Obama's new answers on Iran fall flat

Lew spoke to a private meeting of Washington Institute members last Wednesday, after which Treasury posted his remarks. He said that President Obama planned to use his own authority to suspend sanctions against Iran’s oil, banking and trade sectors after Iran complied with the initial parts of the deal and that Congress wouldn’t actually be asked to lift sanctions during his presidency…

That explanation directly conflicts with what Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif told an audience at New York University earlier that day. Zarif said that UN sanctions would be lifted within days of an agreement being signed and that all sanctions would be permanently lifted, including Congressional sanctions, once Iran met its initial obligations…

Levitt and other experts also noted that Lew said the sanctions on one specific part of the Iranian regime, the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, will stay in place. Treasury considers it linked to terrorism.

Lew didn’t say anything about the rest of the Revolutionary Guard, which is sanctioned for both proliferation and human rights violations and controls as much of a third of the Iranian economy through shell companies in mining, banking and oil. It stands accused of directing huge amounts of illicit activity around the region.