And Doing It the Right Way
It makes sense that moderates’ recent electoral triumph in Iran—early results suggest that they have won a majority of seats in the parliament and in the Assembly of Experts—will improve the chances of success for the Iran nuclear deal. Iranian moderates, who generally back President Hassan Rouhani, were an important factor in concluding the deal and are likely to support its continued implementation.
As U.S. policymakers welcome the news that the Obama administration’s signal foreign policy achievement may be on sturdier ground, however, the continued successful implementation of the deal is having important and unanticipated consequences for the United States’ ability to use biting financial sanctions to achieve its foreign policy objectives.
In particular, the nature of the sanctions relief provided as part of the Iran nuclear agreement—which seems less likely to unravel after the election—may actually undermine U.S. sanctions in the future, in part by encouraging foreign companies to re-enter Iranian markets and decrease their reliance on the U.S. financial system. It is worth taking that risk into consideration as some policymakers cheer the outcome of the election and what it may mean for Iranian politics and the future of the nuclear agreement.
As Iran gets ready to hold its first major elections since the historic nuclear deal reached with world powers last year, the political landscape has undergone an unprecedented shakeup as reformists, moderates and even conservatives—who usually compete against each other—have essentially united to confront the hardliners who have controlled Iran’s internal politics for most of the last decade.
Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Iran’s Elections
The elections on Feb. 26—which are for both the parliament as well as the Experts Assembly, the body tasked with choosing Iran’s next supreme leader—are historic, in large part because they are the first polls to take place since the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal. With that agreement and the lifting of sanctions, Iran is poised to reenter the international community—and every political faction wants to have a say in what path the Islamic Republic will take.
But what’s even more notable is that, for the first time, a wide range of political groups have united in the purpose of preventing hardliners from getting elected—even if they have to learn to live with other factions that until now they have always opposed. “For example when you look at the reformist list of candidates you can see it is a list out of necessity, not choice, the list has no common identity,” says Abdullah Ganji, managing director of Javan Daily and a political analyst. “On one hand you have Mohammadreza Aref, a reformist who believes that the parliament’s first duty is to pursue the termination of the house arrest [of Green Movement Leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi]. In the other hand you have Kazem Jalali, a principalist who has officially called for the death sentence for these two, they have welcomed anyone who opposes the Paydari Front”—the main and foremost hardline political faction in Iran’s present-day political spectrum.
The VICE News Capsule is a news roundup that looks beyond the headlines. Today: Nigeria’s most populous city has a housing problem, Indian veterans continue their hunger strike, prominent Iranians support the nuclear deal, and dog is man’s newest ally in the fight against cancer.
Lagos Residents Build Homes in Garbage Dumps
A lack of affordable housing has pushed some people into the landfills.
Army Veterans on Hunger Strike Over Pension Plan
Three ex-servicemen protest the government’s delay in starting a new retirement program.
Prominent Activists Launch Campaign Supporting Nuclear Deal`More than 40 high-profile Iranians have posted videos on YouTube and Facebook.
Cancer-Sniffing Dogs Assist Doctors
Canines have three hundred million sensory receptors compared with five million in humans.
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The debate over the Iran nuclear deal may now have its own version of “death panels,” a provision that is both a point of overwhelming criticism and largely fictitious.
“Particularly troublesome, you have to wait 24 days before you can inspect,” Sen. Chuck Schumer told reporters last week, explaining why he is opposing the deal.
Conservative media have hammered at this idea: that nuclear inspectors must wait 24 days before visiting any place in Iran that is not a declared nuclear site. Sometimes they imply or outright state, as in the case of this staggeringly misleading but representative Fox News story, that the 24-day wait applies even to known nuclear sites.
This certainly sounds scary. It sounds, as the critics often say, like those bumbling appeasers in the Obama administration have handed Iran the ability to cheat on the deal and then prevent inspectors from catching them.
Fortunately, this is all largely false. It’s a lot like “death panels,” in which Obamacare critics took a benign fact about the health-care bill — it would include end-of-life counseling — and then spun it up into a massive lie about how President Obama was going to cancel Granny’s life-sustaining medications and send her to an early grave. This is an issue on which nuclear deal critics have taken a small truth and then exaggerated, distorted, and outright lied about it to make it into something very different.
How the “24-day wait” lie came about