India, Japan paid economic price of US’ Iran sanctions: Susan Rice

Washington, July 15 (IANS) As the Obama administration moved to sell the historic Iran nuclear deal, National Security Advisor Susan Rice warned that countries like India and Japan who paid an economic price of US sanctions may not support them again if it was scuttled.

“Countries like Japan and India that have paid an economic price to implement these sanctions would no longer feel the obligation to do so, if a hostile Republican Congress failed to approve the deal,” Rice told PBS Tuesday.

She also made clear that President Barack Obama’s threat to “veto any legislation that prevents the successful implementation of this deal” was not open “to discussion or negotiation”.

“No, seriously, no, because we have negotiated a deal that is good for the United States, it’s good for Israel, it’s good for world peace and security.

“And if the United States were the country, the sole country out of the international community to blow up a deal,” Rice said, “the sanctions regime that we have worked so hard to maintain will fall apart, because the rest of the world will say, what is the point?”.

“Countries like Japan and India that have paid an economic price to implement these sanctions would no longer feel the obligation to do so,” she said.

“Iran would say, look, we signed up for the deal, we’re ready to do our part, but now, since there’s no prospect of sanctions relief, we’re going to pursue our nuclear programme unconstrained.”

“That would be a lose-lose situation. So it would be very unfortunate if the United States were the one to abrogate and therefore blow up a very good deal,” Rice said.

Earlier, White House also cited India’s example in making a similar argument in support of the deal.

“If there was a decision taken by Congress to kill this deal, there is not a scenario that anybody could see whereby the rest of the world would sign up for additional sanctions,” a senior administration official said in background briefing call.

“The world has had to make significant sacrifices, in some cases, to reduce their purchase of Iranian oil,” he said. “They did that in support of this negotiation.”

“So when we 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.

Meanwhile, the administration has begun a lobbying campaign on the Capitol Hill to shore up support for the deal to which a section of the Democrats is also opposed.

A series of public and private, classified briefings began Wednesday with Vice President Joe Biden, slated to discuss the agreement with House Democrats at the request of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

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