A lot of people are puzzling over the Obama Adminstration’s stance on the P5+1 talks going on in Baghdad right now. In particular, the administration has said that even if a deal is reached with Iran at the summit, they aren’t going to remove any sanctions from them in return.
This is, of course, the way sanctions work.
In 1990, the United Nations imposed a massive array of sanctions on Iraq because Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. The result was hundreds of thousands of civilians, by even the most conservative estimates, getting killed, and Madeline Albright getting her moment of infamy when she insisted the deaths of children was “worth it.”
In 2003, the United States invaded Iraq, conquered the country, and installed a puppet regime. In 2006 the puppet regime captured and executed Saddam Hussein.
Today, portions of those anti-Iraq sanctions are STILL in place, and 5% of Iraq’s annual oil and gas sales to this day (Iraq is now the #2 producer on the planet) go to Kuwait as “reparations” for a war that was over 20+ years ago. With Iraq and Kuwait arguing over the positioning of a key port on the Persian Gulf, it is unlikely Kuwait will ever sign off on them.
So when Iran agrees to something, obviously the sanctions don’t go away. Iran could have a full scale color-coded revolution and install a US viceroy tomorrow, announce that it is giving all of its nuclear material as a gift to Israel (and appointing Iranian-born Israeli Deputy PM Shaul Mofaz as its new Shah), and we’d still be talking about portions of the Iran sanctions being debated for years.
The Treasury Department seems like it slaps extra sanctions on Iran just to spice up a slow news day at this point, but while this sort of thing happens on a whim, it will be a thorn in everyone’s side for a generation.