Pro-Israel lobby gets in way of implementing JCPOA

‘Pro-Israel lobby gets in way of implementing JCPOA’

Mon Dec 19, 2016 8:13AM

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano has once again confirmed Tehran’s commitment to its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Meanwhile, the United States continues to neglect its obligations under the nuclear deal reached between Iran and the P5+1. The US Congress recently extended the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) for another ten years to uphold embargos against the Islamic Republic, which many argue run counter to the provisions of the accord.

Scott Rickard, a political analyst and former American Intelligence linguist from Tampa, told Press TV’s program “The Debate” that the pro-Israel lobby has put immense pressure on American legislators with regard to the JCPOA.

“The massive amount of influence by the Zionist lobby has affected the American foreign policy since early 1900,” Rickard said, arguing that the Democrats and the Republicans have both shown massive support for the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) under influence from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

“This particular act has been something that has impeded Iranian commerce and finance over and over again. The political dogma and the religious dogma associated with the Zionist influence [caused] 99 members of the Senate [to] actually vote in favor of this act unanimously. [This] shows the actual dogma associated with the political activity in Washington DC,” he said on Sunday night.

The extension of the ISA is “a violation of the spirit of the treaty (JCPOA), the commentator explained, adding that “these sanctions are an act of war.”

He also warned about the future moves against the nuclear deal by President-elect Donald Trump because, he said, Trump opposed the deal during his election campaign and extended good relations with the Zionist lobby.

Pointing to the Trump administration’s stance towards the JCPOA, Rickard noted that “he (Trump) surrounded himself with some of the most Likudnik pro-Israel right-wing individuals,” and “we’re going to see a Netanyahu-style government in the United States, unfortunately.”

Although the nuclear agreement must be respected by all signatories, including the United States, the “JCPOA is very vulnerable to the incoming presidency and the predominant Republican party” in the US Congress, he complained.

Elsewhere, he also noted that Iranians should “brace themselves” because “there is a tremendous amount of anti-Iranian rhetoric” among American politicians.

“Iran can pose it (violation of the JCPOA) to the UN Security Council or to the international court at The Hague. That’s the only option at this point other than going back to the P5+1 and saying, ‘Look, we believe the Americans are violating it by basically enacting additional sanctions,’” he said.

According to Rickard, the IAEA has confirmed Tehran’s compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA, which means “there was no reason for Obama not to veto it (ISA).”

Meanwhile, Jim Walsh, with the Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from Boston, said he agreed with President Obama that “it was unhelpful for Congress to pass that legislation.”

He, however, said that the move “is not a violation of the JCPOA,” because “it does not introduce any new sanctions.”

“You don’t violate the treaty by violating the spirit. You violate it by violating the language of an agreement. That hasn’t happened,” he argued, insisting that “sanctions are not an act of war.”

“Republicans hold both the Senate and the House [of Representatives] and if Mr. Obama would have issued a veto, there was a good chance the veto would have been overridden,” he said, noting, “Vulnerable Democratic senators who voted simply for reauthorization, which changed nothing,” can stand against new proposals for additional sanctions.

The analyst opined, “The fact that you have Democratic senators voting for reauthorization of what already existed actually puts them in a stronger political position in the New Year to resist moves by the Republican senators to impose new sanctions.”

Disagreeing with the potential influence of the pro-Israel lobby on voting for the ISA, he said, “If the lobby were as powerful as described, we would not have had an interim [nuclear] agreement and we certainly wouldn’t have had the final agreement (JCPOA).”

Referring to Trump’s position towards Iran’s nuclear agreement, he noted, the president-elect has not talked about the JCPOA since his election victory and even one of his advisors, Rudy Giuliani, has said that “changing the Iran nuclear deal is not a priority.”

Last year in Vienna, Iran reached a consensus with six powers – the US, Britain, Russia, China, France and Germany – to restrict its nuclear activities in return for the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions.