Blinken: Iran Capitulation a ‘Fantasy’

Blinken: Iran Capitulation a ‘Fantasy’Blinken: Iran Capitulation a ‘Fantasy’

The US deputy secretary of state said any tightening of sanctions against Iran would fail to compel it to accept "every" demand the United States makes in the talks over Tehran's nuclear program.

"I have to tell you that, unfortunately, it is a fantasy to believe that Iran will simply capitulate to every demand if we ratchet up the pressure even more through sanctions," Antony Blinken said at the 2015 American Jewish Committee's Global Forum in Washington on Monday.

Referring to the counterproductive impact of sanctions, he said, "Despite intensifying pressure over the last decade, Iran went from just 150 centrifuges in 2002 to 19,000 before we reached the (Geneva) outline agreement," according to a transcript of his speech posted on the website of the US State Department.

Iran and the major powers reached an interim nuclear agreement in Geneva in November 2013.

"Nor is it likely that our international partners, without whom our sanctions are not effective, would go along with such a plan. They signed on to sanctions in order to get Iran to the negotiating table and to conclude an agreement that meets our core security interests, not to force Iran to abandon a peaceful nuclear program," he said, referring to the other major powers, namely Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, which, along with the US, are involved in the negotiations with Tehran.

"Up until now, we've kept other countries on board, despite the economic loss that it presents for some of them in large part because they're convinced we are serious about diplomacy and about reaching a diplomatic solution. If they lose that belief, it's the United States, not Iran, that risks being isolated, and the sanctions regime we've worked so hard to build will crumble away."

  Misplaced Concerns

Blinken then addressed critics of the deal, making some points to help alley their "misplaced concerns."

The deal "will not expire" and "there will not be a so-called sunset," the senior US diplomat stressed, adding, "Different requirements of the deal would have different durations, but some, including Iran's commitment to all of the obligations of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, including the obligation not to build a nuclear weapon, as well as the tough access and monitoring provisions of the Additional Protocol, would continue in perpetuity."

Nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi rejected Blinken's remarks as merely meant to appease US domestic critics and international allies. He was quoted by IRNA as saying on Tuesday that "the (prospective) deal will be in place for a specific period of time and none of the measures envisaged therein will be permanently (binding)."  

Blinken also said, "This deal (the final accord) would provide such extensive levels of transparency that if Iran fails to comply with the international community's obligations, we'll know about it – and we will know it virtually right away, giving us plenty of time to respond diplomatically, or, if necessary, by other means."

On the issue of sanctions which is a major sticking point in the negotiations, he said, "Most of the sanctions would be suspended – not ended – for a long period of time, with provisions to snap back automatically if Iran reneges on its commitments."