US Official: Iran Will Not Cave in to Pressure

US Official: Iran Will Not Cave in to PressureUS Official: Iran Will Not Cave in to Pressure

The US deputy secretary of state addressed those who are pushing for tougher sanctions against Iran, saying it is time they abandoned the “fantasy” that Iran would ultimately succumb to heightened pressure.

“It’s a fantasy to believe that Iran will simply capitulate to our demands if we ratchet up the pressure even more through sanctions. After all, Iran suffered much greater deprivations during the war with Iraq,” Antony Blinken said, adding that sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear program have failed to prevent the development of its nuclear industry.

“Despite intensifying international pressure over the last years, Iran went from just 150 centrifuges in 2002 to 19,000 before we reached the interim agreement.”

He made the remarks in a speech at Center for a New American Security on Friday.

Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany), which have been negotiating with the aim of settling an over-a-decade-long dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program, reached a landmark outline agreement about two months ago in Lausanne. Blinken warned that should the negotiations fail, the sanctions coalition would unravel because it would deter other countries from going along with the sanctions plan anymore.

“Nor is it likely that our international partners – without whom our sanctions cannot work – it’s not likely they would go along with such a plan. They signed on to sanctions in order to get Iran to the negotiating table to conclude an agreement that meets our shared security interests – not to force Iran to abandon a peaceful nuclear program.”

Pointing to further adverse consequences of collapse of diplomacy with Iran, he said, “Because they’re convinced we’re serious about reaching a diplomatic solution. If they lose that belief, the United States, not Iran, could be isolated.”

Addressing the proponents of using military force to settle issues with Iran, Blinken said, “They need to consider the fact that such a response would… only set Iran’s program by a few years,” according to a transcript of his remarks posted on the website of the US State Department.

“The deal that we’re working to achieve will not expire. There will not be a so-called sunset,” he said, noting that the deal, however, would contain various requirements, each with a different duration.

“Different requirements of the deal would have different durations, but some – including Iran’s commitment to all of its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, including… the tough access and monitoring provisions of the Additional Protocol – those would continue in perpetuity.”

“By contrast, in the absence of an agreement, Iran’s obligations under the interim agreement that we’ve reached would sunset immediately. Then, Iran could speed towards an industrial-scale program with tens of thousands of centrifuges with no inspections and no visibility into its program.”