Iran: Sanctions regime has collapsed, never to return

The structure of sanctions is ‘destroyed,’ foreign minister Zarif says in Tehran speech, and ‘no one’ will accept its revival

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during a press conference, July 15, 2015.  (AFP/ATTA KENARE)
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during a press conference, July 15, 2015. (AFP/ATTA KENARE)

The international sanctions regime against Iran has collapsed and will never be restored, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said.

“The structure of the sanctions that the US had built based on the UN Security Council’s resolutions was destroyed,” Zarif told a meeting of Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations in Tehran on Monday, according to the semi-state Fars news agency. “And like the 1990s, when no other country complied with the US sanctions against Iran, no one will accept the return of the sanctions (in the future).”

Zarif dismissed the notion that the sanctions could be reimposed against Iran in a short period of time, Fars reported. Such a process would need several years, the agency paraphrased him as saying, while Tehran’s return to its past nuclear activities could be done in a shorter time if the world powers don’t remain committed to their undertakings.

A deal reached July 14 between Iran and world powers aims to curtail Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for easing international sanctions.

Critics, including American Republicans, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a majority of Israeli coalition and opposition leaders, worry that the limits on that program do not go far enough, and that Iran will not face meaningful ramifications if it breaks the agreement.

Supporters, including US President Barack Obama and his cabinet members, who have been seeking to rally Congress behind the deal in recent weeks, have insisted the agreement is a good one, and will prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons for over a decade.

The Obama administration has promised to quickly re-impose sanctions on Iran if the Islamic Republic cheats on any part of the agreement.

Netanyahu last month said the deal was “filled with absurdities.” Relating to sanctions, he said, “the sanction snap-back mechanism is so complicated and serpentine that one needs a PhD to understand it.”

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