TEL AVIV – Under the interim deal between Iran and Western powers, Tehran’s economy could be flooded with untold billions in sanctions relief and other gains, far more than the widely reported amount of $6 to $7 billion.
In fact, the final text of the deal does not specify any dollar amount for sanctions relief. It leaves the U.S. and Europe open to unfreezing more funds and facilitating an unspecified amount in other transactions and sales.
A White House press release states the deal will result in “approximately $7 billion in relief,” calling that amount “a fraction of the costs that Iran will continue to incur during this first phase under the sanctions that will remain in place.”
“The vast majority of Iran’s approximately $100 billion in foreign exchange holdings are inaccessible or restricted by sanctions,” states the release.
However, a careful reading of the agreement, posted on the EU’s website, finds numerous open-ended statements about sanctions relief.
If Iran keeps its side of the bargain, the deal allows an increase in European Union “authorisation thresholds for transactions for non-sanctioned trade to an agreed amount.” No amount for the thresholds are provided in the text of the deal.
The agreement states the U.S. and EU will “enable the repatriation of an agreed amount of revenue held abroad.” No specific amount is delineated in the deal.
In one clause that could potentially free untold billions, the deal establishes a “financial channel to facilitate humanitarian trade for Iran’s domestic needs using Iranian oil revenues held abroad.” No cap is provided for the amount of revenue that could be made available.
An open-ended footnote states the “humanitarian” trade financial channel “would involve specified foreign banks and non-designated Iranian banks to be defined when establishing the channel.”
More sanctions relief spelled out in the text of the deal includes a Western agreement to:
- Pause efforts to further reduce Iran’s crude oil sales, enabling Iran’s current customers to purchase their current average amounts of crude oil. For such oil sales, it suspends the EU and U.S. sanctions on associated insurance and transportation services.
- Suspend U.S. and EU sanctions on Iran’s petrochemical exports, as well as sanctions on associated services, gold and precious metals.
- Suspend U.S. sanctions on Iran’s auto industry, as well as sanctions on associated services.
- License the supply and installation in Iran of spare parts for safety of flight for Iranian civil aviation and associated services.
- License safety related inspections and repairs in Iran as well as associated services.
- Not impose new nuclear-related U.N. Security Council sanctions.
- Not impose new EU nuclear-related sanctions.
- In the case of the U.S. administration, acting consistently with the respective roles of the president and the Congress, refrain from imposing new nuclear-related sanctions.
With additional research by Joshua Klein.