Call for Avoiding Hasty Response to ISA Renewal

Call for Avoiding Hasty Response to ISA RenewalCall for Avoiding Hasty Response to ISA Renewal

A lawmaker cautioned against any impulsive retaliatory response against the US Senate vote on the Iran Sanctions Act's extension that could embolden the United States in its blame game against the Islamic Republic.

"We should refrain from any hasty measure to deny the United States any excuse. Given the US influence in international forums, we should avoid offering them an excuse to put the blame on Iran," Jalal Mirzaei told ICANA on Saturday.

The Congress bill, which cleared the Senate on Thursday, would keep in place the 20-year-old ISA for another decade. It passed the Senate by 99-0 this week, Reuters reported. 

It had also passed the House of Representatives nearly unanimously in November.

The ISA will expire on Dec. 31 if not renewed.

Iran reached an agreement with the United States and five other powers, namely Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany, to get sanctions relief in return for temporary curbs on its nuclear program.

Mirzaei said some of his fellow lawmakers intend to introduce urgent legislation obliging the government to resume full-scale nuclear activities.

"I think it would not be wise to act in such a hasty manner. We should rather act with caution and after [careful] consideration."

He suggested that Iran take its grievances to the Joint Commission, a panel of representatives from all parties to the pact tasked with monitoring it and addressing issues that arise from its implementation.

The UN-endorsed deal says, "The US administration, acting consistent with the respective roles of the president and the congress, will refrain from reintroducing or reimposing the sanctions … it has ceased applying under this JCPOA. Iran has stated that it will treat such a reintroduction or reimposition of the sanctions … or such an imposition of new nuclear-related sanctions, as grounds to cease performing its commitments under the JCPOA in whole or in part."

The bill needs to be signed by President Barack Obama to become law. Iranian officials have railed against the ISA renewal, with Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei warning late last month that should the bill be passed into law and implemented, Iran would treat it as a breach of the deal and will consider retaliation.

  Clear Violation 

Nuclear energy chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, who played a central role in reaching the nuclear deal, has described the extension as a "clear violation" if implemented.

"We are closely monitoring developments. If they implement the ISA, Iran will take action accordingly."

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi said the extension would go against the terms of the historic agreement.

"Iran has shown its commitment to its international agreements, but we are also prepared for any possible scenario. We are ready to firmly protect the nation's rights under any circumstances," he said. 

US President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill into law, the US State Department said on Friday, but noted that it would ensure that the reauthorized ISA only involves non-nuclear sanctions.

"While we don't think an extension is necessary, we've also been clear that a completely clean extension, as this one is entirely consistent with our commitments in the JCPOA," State Department Spokesman John Kirby said, using the abbreviation that stands for the formal name of the accord, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. 

"Our expectation is that the president will sign the legislation, but I will also note that Secretary [of State John] Kerry will retain the waiver authority and he will continue to waive all of the relevant nuclear-related sanctions authorized by the legislation as we committed to do in the JCPOA and have long been doing since implementation day," he said, according to a transcript of his remarks posted on the website of the US State Department. 

Kirby noted that the ISA renewal would not constrain the United States' ability to uphold its JCPOA commitments and would not affect in any way a scope of the sanctions relief that Iran is receiving under the deal. 

Republican US president-elect Donald Trump criticized the pact as he campaigned for the White House. Other members of his party, who control Congress, unanimously oppose the historic agreement and have introduced numerous measures to interfere with its implementation. 

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