If Congress kills Iran deal, sanctions would lose India’s support: US

Washington, July 18 (IANS) White House has cautioned a hostile Republican controlled Congress against killing the historic Iran nuclear deal saying loss of support from countries like India would lead to a collapse of the sanctions regime.

“The key to the success of this latest round of sanctions has been the aggressive enforcement of countries around the world, including countries that aren’t even a party to this particular agreement — countries like India, Japan and South Korea,” the White House Press Secretary told reporters Friday.

These countries “previously relied heavily on the importation of Iranian oil — and by scaling back their oil purchases that had a negative impact on Iran’s economy but also had a negative impact on the domestic economy of those individual countries,” he pointed out.

“So the point is that the sanctions regime would collapse if Congress were to kill this deal,” Earnest said.

“And what that means is it means that the international leverage that we have previously used to reach this agreement would vanish.”

“The second is, Iran would still obtain the financial benefits of sanctions relief — something that our critics have described as a financial windfall,” Earnest said.

“And the problem is, Iran is going to get all of that money and the United States doesn’t get anything for it.”

Asked to explain President Barack Obama’s claim that 99 percent of the world community supports the deal, Earnest said “it was backed by “the Germans, the British, the French, the Chinese, the Russians, the South Koreans, the Japanese, the Indians.”

“All of the countries that were involved in pressuring Iran to come to the negotiating table in the first place,” supported the agreement between the six world powers led by the US and Iran to limit Tehran’s nuclear programme.

“The fact is, if the United States Congress were to successfully kill this agreement, it would have a terrible impact on the standing of the United States in the world,” Earnest said.

This is an agreement not just between the United States and Iran; this is an agreement between the United States, Russia, China, Germany, the UK, and France, and Iran,” he said.

It was also “enthusiastically supported by, as the President said, 99 percent of the international community.”

“And for the United States, because of a congressional action, to isolate our country on such an important issue would be devastating to our standing in the world,” Earnest said.

This is the third time, Obama administration has cited the case of countries like India to sell the deal to its Republican critics as also to bring around some members of Obama’s own Democratic Party who have expressed reservations about it.

Earlier this week, National Security Advisor Susan Rice told PBS that if the Congress failed to approve the deal “Countries like Japan and India that have paid an economic price to implement these sanctions would no longer feel the obligation to do so.”

A White House official also made a similar argument saying when the US “went around to Europe, to China, to India, to South Korea, to Japan, and got them and others to reduce their purchases of Iranian oil, the express purpose of that effort was to get this deal.”

“So if, having gotten this deal, we then kill it, it is hard to see why those countries would then go back along with additional sanctions,” the official said.

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