Obama Expected to Prevent New Banking Restrictions

Obama Expected to Prevent New Banking RestrictionsObama Expected to Prevent New Banking Restrictions

US President Barack Obama is expected to stop a bill scheduled to go before the House of Representatives today, which would bar Obama from waiving sanctions against certain Iranian banks after the July nuclear deal with major powers goes into force, an Iranian lawmaker said.

Under the accord, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran is scaling down its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions which, among other things, have targeted the Iranian banking system. "The US administration should block such moves by the Congress," Ayvaz Heydarpour, a member of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said in an interview with ICANA on Wednesday.

Otherwise it would signal that the action plan has been a "charade" to increase the West's pressure on Iran, he added.

To remove the banks from the sanctions list, the bill would require Obama to provide certifications to Congress. Under the measure, the certification would involve assurance that the Iranian bank "has not knowingly … facilitated a significant transaction … or provided significant financial services for or on behalf of" the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps and other entities and individuals blacklisted for alleged terrorist activities or links to terrorist organizations under Executive Order 13224 or the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, reported.

The IEEPA authorizes the president to regulate commerce after declaring an "unusual and extraordinary threat ... to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States" that originates "in whole or substantial part outside the United States".

According to the website of the US Department of State, Executive Order 13224 was signed by former president George Bush in 2001 "to disrupt the financial support network for terrorists and terrorist organizations".

Heydarpour said, "If the bill is passed [by Congress] and enforced by the US administration, it would be a flagrant violation of the JCPOA, hence nullifying it."

The deal says, "The JCPOA will produce the comprehensive lifting of all UN Security Council sanctions as well as multilateral and national sanctions related to Iran's nuclear program, including steps on access in areas of trade, technology, finance and energy."

It commits the other side to "refrain from imposing discriminatory regulatory and procedural requirements in lieu of the sanctions and restrictive measures covered by the JCPOA".

  Defense Doctrine Unchangeable

Tehran unveiled a new underground missile depot on Tuesday on state television, showing Emad precision-guided missiles.

The release of the one-minute video followed footage of another underground missile depot last October. The United States claims Iran has breached a 2010 UN Security Council resolution because Emad, which the Islamic Republic tested in October, is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

US officials say Washington will respond to the Emad tests with fresh sanctions against Iranian individuals and businesses linked to the program.

Despite this, President Hassan Rouhani ordered his defense minister last week to expand the missile program. The US State Department said on Tuesday it was in discussions with other US agencies on imposing the new sanctions, Reuters reported.

"We are fully prepared to use sanctions with respect to this most recent ballistic missile test (and) are still working through some technical issues there," spokesman John Kirby said.

Heydarpour said the development of missile capabilities is in line with Iran's "defense doctrine".

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has repeatedly said the US action to impose new sanctions will not alter Tehran's approach on the issue," he said.

The Obama administration delayed imposing new sanctions last week to blacklist Iranian entities suspected of involvement in missile development, saying it needed more preparation time before announcing new designations.