June 15, 2014
Transcript: How to Unwind Iran Nuclear-Related Sanctions
SHUJA NAWAZ, DIRECTOR, SOUTH ASIA CENTER, ATLANTIC COUNCIL
STUART EIZENSTADT, PARTNER, COVINGTON & BURLING
BARBARA SLAVIN, SENIOR FELLOW, SOUTH ASIA CENTER, ATLANTIC COUNCIL
CORNELIUS ADEBAHR, ASSOCIATE AT THE CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE
KENNETH KATZMAN, SPECIALIST, MIDDLE EASTERN AFFAIRS, CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
SHUJA NAWAZ: (In progress) – to welcome you and to note that we will be hearing next from the chair of the Iran Task Force, Stuart Eizenstat, who's a partner with Covington & Burling. And then, Barbara Slavin, who is our senior fellow for Iran who has been helping manage this task force operations, is going to introduce the speakers and the topics and then moderate the discussion.
We are delighted to welcome back to the Council Ken Katzman, who, among other things, has also helped us produce a wonderful compendium on Iran sanctions – the very sanctions that he's talking about unwinding now.
And then, we have via Skype Cornelius Adebahr from Berlin, who's an associate with the Europe program of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. So with that brief introduction and to remind you, please, to switch your cell phones off if you haven't done so already.
And I'm going to ask Stu Eizenstat to please introduce today's topic and then Barbara will moderate the event. Thank you.
STUART EIZENSTAT: Thank you, Shuja, and thank you all for coming. For more than three years the Iran Task Force, which was originally, by the way, co-chaired by now Secretary of Defense Hagel and myself, have been delving deeply into every aspect of our policy toward Iran.
We've looked, of course, at the Iran nuclear program. We've looked at the quality of intelligence about that program. We've looked at the impact of sanctions. We've looked at their regional role and internal politics. And in the course of the almost three years, we published more than a dozen issue briefs and have held more than 30 public events and private briefings. I don't think there's any institution anywhere in the world that has devoted more sustained attention to Iran.
We've also evaluated President Hassan Rouhani's first 100 days. We've examined Iran's relations with its South Asian neighbors. And we've looked at the pluses and minuses of sending American diplomats to Tehran to staff a U.S. interests section. We're now entering what could be, and I underscore "could be," a decisive home stretch for nuclear negotiations with Iran at a time of extraordinary instability and unrest in the region.
U.S. and Iranian negotiators and their colleagues from the U.K., France, Germany, Russia, and China, are as we speak meeting. They're doing so in Vienna to try to see if the negotiators can reach a deal and deal with what each of the sides has called a Rubik's cube that will put long-term curbs on Iran's nuclear program in return for which Iran expects a lifting of all nuclear-related sanctions.
One of the things I know that Ken perhaps will be dealing with is that those are not the only sanctions. There are non-nuclear sanctions, during the Clinton administration, which I served, tied to their support for terrorism, which does not, from my viewpoint, seem to have diminished.
Today we're releasing two paper that together sketch a possible roadmap for unwinding sanctions that have done the most damage to the Iranian economy, but also have been seminal in getting Iran to the negotiating table and given us leverage to potentially reach a nuclear agreement.
Ken Katzman is a well-known expert on Iran and sanctions with the Congressional Research Service. He's appearing in his personal capacity and he's prepared the first paper, which will deal with the U.S. side of the sanctions.
As Shuja said, Cornelius Adebahr of the Carnegie Endowment has prepared a companion paper on E.U. sanctions and will be joining us via Skype from Berlin.
It's our hope that the options and suggestions these two experts outline will assist our negotiators and inform the Washington and Iranian policy communities about potential solutions to this Rubik's cube of problems. The sanctions regime against Iran is extraordinarily complex, but perhaps it is possible to unwind elements over time if Iran keeps the commitments it makes to put long-term, verifiable limits on their nuclear activities.
I want to turn this over to Barbara Slavin, but I want to do so with a very personal comment, because when I talk about these dozens of papers and 30 meetings and the intensity with which the Atlantic Council and our task force has focused on all the dimensions of Iran, not just its nuclear program, at the heart of that program has been Barbara. She's been tireless. She's been energetic. She's been brilliant in analysis. She's been balanced. And we formed, along with Shuja, a very, very wonderful partnership that continues to this day.
So Barbara, thank you for everything you've done and I suspect this won't be the last of these sessions that we have. (Applause.)
BARBARA SLAVIN: Thank you, Ambassador Eizenstat. That's very generous of you. And as I've said before, this is a labor of love or perhaps insanity, I'm not sure. But it's something that I certainly have enjoyed.
I know there's a match between Iran and Nigeria coming up, so I don't want to hold this up too much. I'm just going to give a slightly fuller introduction to Ken and to Cornelius. You have their bios, but just briefly.
Ken, as you know, is a longtime expert at the Congressional Research Service. He was there at the creation I think one can say of a lot of these Iran sanctions. No one knows them better than he does. But he's also quite a distinguished scholar on Iran. He wrote a book on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, called "The Warriors of Islam," which I consulted heavily when I wrote my own book on Iran. And he's widely published. He's participated in numerous conferences and he has a Ph.D. in political science from New York University.
Cornelius Adebahr is a political analyst and entrepreneur based in Washington and Berlin. He's at the Carnegie Endowment, but he's also lived in Iran for two years, from 2011 to 2013. So he really has a good sense of it. He's been a lecturer at the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy, at Erfurt, a member of the Team Europe of the European Commission. And he studied political science, international relations, philosophy, public law, and international economics in Tubingen, if I pronounce that correctly, in Paris, and at the Free University Berlin.
So first, Ken will be speaking about his paper, which has some very interesting and novel ideas, and then we'll go to Cornelius, and then we'll take your questions.
KENNETH KATZMAN: Can I get my water? Excuse me. Well, thank you, Barbara and Shuja, Stu for that beautiful introduction and I'm glad to be back, helping the Council out on Iran sanctions and other Iran related matters.
Just before I left the office, we had some discussions on internal meetings on Iraq. So coming here and facing questions is actually relaxation. I wanted to – Iran sanctions, it's a very emotional issue. Iran, obviously, is – you all know the history. It is not a good story between the United States and Iran. It's not been that way. Maybe it's getting better now. We can all be optimistic – some positive initial indicators, some things are going better. Thank you. But the issue is during the 30 years that the U.S. and Iran have been divorced or estranged or not seeing each other, this web of sanctions has been built up. And it is quite a spider's web, you know, interlocking sanctions where designation leads to several other sanctions. And so to unwind, you need to undo the designation, but that has requirements, and it's just very, very difficult.
And of course, it was effective. If the objective was to bring Iran to negotiations – serious negotiations, I think there's a clear consensus in this town that, you know, it had its effect.
Now, let's say we take a more optimistic view and there's going to be a solution. Mr. Zarif put an op-ed in the paper this weekend, maybe today or yesterday, I forget, saying we can get a deal. So let's say we get this deal. And let's say the administration accepts the deal. We have a deal. And we have to then pay Iran its price, obviously. How does one do that?
Well, the paper goes into some detail on what are the various authorities that the administration has to unwind these sanctions or to ease sanctions. The first question one must ask is are the Iranians going to demand that sanctions be terminated or are they just going to demand that sanctions no longer apply? That's a very, very key distinction. If they simply demand that the sanctions no longer apply, the administration, as I say in the paper, has ample authority to waive sanctions laws.
The administration has a lot of – I've looked at other sanctions regime for the Council even, on Libya, North Korea even, I remember doing a paper for the Council. Administrations tend to have a tremendous amount of discretion in lifting or easing sanctions. Iran is a little bit different because there're so many laws that have been passed that impose sanctions. So Iran is harder than some of those other cases. And in some of those cases sanctions were lifted because regimes changed. I mean, after Saddam was overthrown, sanctions on Iraq were lifted within six months. When Gadhafi gave up his WMD, in 2004, a lot of sanctions were lifted on Libya really, really quickly.
So administrations tend to have a lot of discretion. That is the case with Iran, too, to a point. Because of the constitutional separation of powers almost all – virtually all the sanctions laws are written with waiver authority, where the president can say, I certify that it is in the national interest not to apply sanction X, Y, or Z. Because the president, according to the Constitution, has a certain primacy in foreign policy. So there is this waiver authority.
Now, if there were to be a deal with Iran, the easiest way to implement it would be to use that waiver authority. If Iran simply demands that the sanctions not apply, my analysis is the Iranians will not get into the business of how we make sanctions not apply. They will simply demand that the sanctions not apply and they would accept the use of waiver authority. I don't have this authoritatively from the Supreme Leader, but this is what I'm gathering.
The Iranians are not going to get into the process of Congress doing this, the administration this. If the sanction doesn't apply, they're going to be satisfied. That's my analysis.
So that's sort of in the short term. We get a deal, sanctions are waived. What are they going to demand be waived? My view is any sanction subsequent to the passage of Resolution 1929 in June, 2010, because that is the point where sanctions ratcheted up dramatically. You had the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Act, CISADA passed. You had the Iran Threat Reduction Act passed; most of the E.U. sanctions were imposed subsequent to that, the National Defense Authorization Act on Iranian oil exports, executive orders banning the use of the – trading in the Rial, the lockup of Iran's assets overseas in bank accounts. Most of these sanctions that really crippled the economy were imposed under the authority of Resolution 1929 of June, 2010.
Now, then the issue is beyond that. So let's say the president waives those sanctions I delineated. Ultimately Iran is going to demand more. Let's say a year goes by. They're complying. They've dismantled whatever centrifuges they've agreed to. They've converted whatever they've agreed. They've complied. Ultimately, I think they will demand termination. And that's when it gets a little more difficult, as I discussed in the paper, because many executive orders have been codified; in other words, written into law. There's the whole issue Stu Eizenstat mentioned, what's a nuclear sanction?
Well, the ban, the sanction that penalizes foreign banks if they trade in Iranian hard currency for oil – basically the oil sanctions, National Defense Authorization Act, fiscal year 2012, that's not a nuclear sanction per se, but to the Iranians, it sure is a nuclear sanction because it was imposed to get them to the table on the nuclear issue. So that surely is a nuclear sanction.
If I were an Iranian negotiator, I would say that's a nuclear sanction, even though the word "nuclear" is not mentioned anywhere in that particular sanction. The CISADA on banking, which basically bans foreign banks from doing business in the United States if they're trading financial transactions with Iranian blacklisted banks. That's not technically a nuclear sanction, but the Iranians are going to say it is, and I would say, you know, probably that would qualify because it was imposed to get them to the nuclear bargaining table.
Where it gets tricky is the Iran Sanctions Act, which was not devastating at the time, it was passed in '96, but it has become somewhat devastating because Iran has not attracted foreign investment in a long time. Their oil production has gone down. Their fields are aging. And it's been expanded tremendously beyond just banning foreign investment in Iran's energy sector. It's been expanded to banning exports of gasoline to Iran. It's been expanded to sanctions exports of petrochemical manufacturing equipment to Iran. It's been expanded to include shipping of energy products to Iran. That is a huge sanction, the Iran Sanctions Act. If that would have been lifted, a lot of sanctions would be removed.
Now, as Barbara astutely mentioned in her article that she wrote on my paper today, because we had talked about this before, the Iran Sanctions Act is one of the few. In fact, it's the only sanctions law that I can think of. It is the only sanctions law that has a specific sunset date. The sunset date is December 31, 2016. It's written into law. If you look up the Iran Sanctions Act, you will see a section has the sunset.
Now, that's a very interesting date. It's one month before a new president gets sworn in. It is – let's say there's a deal in October. So it's about one year – no, two years – 2014, one, two – about two years of measuring Iran's compliance with any deal. So by the time the Iran Sanctions Act sunsets, Iran would be presumably complying for two years. And you would have a two-year track record where Iran would say, we have fulfilled what we promised for two years. What's interesting is to extend the sunset – the sunset was originally 2001. It's been extended three times. It was extended to 2006. It was then extended to 2011. And then, it was – the sunset was moved to 2016.
To extend it beyond 2016, Congress would have to amend the law, which means Congress would have to pass legislation extending the sunset date, which means the president could veto that legislation, which means it is not certain that the Iran Sanctions Act is going to be extended legislatively. So we would have a two-year track record of Iran complying and at that point Iran would be demanding termination of some sanctions. And that's one possible option, were there a decision to do so, that could be used to say to Iran – we are working to not just waive, not just suspend, but to lift the sanctions.
I go through in the paper and I'll stop talking soon. You know, again, the administration has tremendous authority, way beyond what I've talked about, but it's in the paper. Whenever there's a designation made of this company is being sanctioned, the administration determines that. Whoever's violating the Iran Sanctions Act, the administration determines that, which means they can decide not to designate anybody. The administration has authority to unravel it, to roll back a designation. Tremendous authorities, and I go through in the paper.
So I think I will stop there and let Cornelius speak.
MS. SLAVIN: Thanks, Ken. Now, you can see why I asked Ken Katzman to write this paper. Nobody else understands these things like he does.
Cornelius, can we have 10 minutes of your paper? Thanks.
CORNELIUS ADEBAHR: Yes, yes, please. Thank you very much. Thank you very much, Barbara for having me. Thank you very much also, Ken, my co-panelist, for sharing your thoughts on the way to writing this paper that I wrote. And thanks for coming, to the audience, but also my apologies for not being there with you right now, but due to travels, I'm in Berlin currently.
I'm very glad that Ken spoke first because he outlined the tricky picture that is in front of all of us at the moment. And I'm very happy to add an E.U.'s perspective to this, saying briefly that for once at least the E.U. is the easy part and the U.S. is the tricky part. Usually, it's 28 member states which create a mess. But on this very issue, the Europeans can claim to be easy off.
Let me only add three answers to three questions, if you may. Two as a preface, basically, why should sanctions be lifted and who should lift sanctions? And then, the third sanction would be how sanctions could be lifted on the European side.
Why should sanctions be lifted? Of course, this is all about a potential deal, so anything I will say presupposes that there is something like a comprehensive deal. But just to underline that it pertains to the logic of sanctions that they are the most powerful when they are lifted on the right circumstances. It is one thing to impose sanctions and to try to change behavior, but only when the sanctions are lifted, when this change of behavior may actually come about. But there is a second thing to this, which is that it doesn't suffice to lift sanctions on paper. Ultimately, sanctions leverage the private sector. These are economic sanctions by nature. And one needs the private sector to follow through on the lifting of sanctions.
And this is an interesting point because we already have some lessons here from the JPA, from the Joint Plan of Action and the implementation phase there, where it appears that there may have been some different expectations or even interpretations of what the Joint Plan of Action should bring about. Whether within the bounds of what was prescribed as sanctions lifting there, I put it bluntly, whether Iran was open for business for not.
The Iranians certainly thought they were open for business, as I say, within the boundaries set by the JPA, whereas others among the P5+1, most notably the U.S., felt it is not yet time to do business with Iran, which, among others, held back companies to go into Iran. They went there as parts of trips – exploratory business trips, but they didn't do business with Iran. They haven't done business much over the past months.
So this is something which Iran would certainly not want to see after a comprehensive deal; i.e. that there is some lifting or there is lifting of sanctions on paper, but that it doesn't go through to the private sector to the companies actually doing business.
Who should lift sanctions? Again, this is a fairly short answer. It would have to be the United States and the European Union in synch, in synchronization. There is no way where one partner could compensate a lack of sanctions lifting by the other. This was part of the debate earlier. I don't know to what extent this is really considered at the moment, but it is for both political and practical reasons that this would not go through – that an unequal sharing of sanctions lifting between the E.U. and the U.S. would not go through.
Politically, it would be a really bad sign. The sanctions have been imposed in unity, in Trans-Atlantic unity and the credibility of the both partners depends on it. But also practically, as Ken has pointed out, a number of sanctions have built up, one upon the other. And just to give you two examples where this was quite evident, in the oil sector the European Union imposed an import ban on oil while the United States pressured third countries not to buy Iranian oil. These two sanctions together, actually, brought down the Iranian oil exports. Or in the financial sector, whereas the U.S. with their sanctions pressured banks in third countries not to do business with Iran, it was the European sanctions on Swift, on the provider of financial messaging services, which together, again, cut off the Iranians from the international financial system.
So both sides, the E.U. and U.S., have developed sanctions which work together, which work in combination and which have created an interdependence between the two sets of sanctions, so it doesn't suffice just to lift one part of the sanctions.
When I come to how sanctions can be lifted, I could be very brief. What it takes the European Union to lift sanctions is a unanimous decision by the Council, which means by all 28 member states. This is the way sanctions have been imposed – 28 member states agreeing on a set of sanctions and taking this kind of decision – and this is also the way sanctions could be lifted, which I have been hearing from Brussels is literally a matter of 10 days, two weeks from taking a decision at the negotiation table to lift sanctions to actually following through in legal terms, having a legally prepared decision by the European member states to lift sanctions.
It is also easy – so this is – all it takes is political will. That's the bottom line. It's also easier for the Europeans to distinguish between nuclear sanctions and human rights sanctions because these are clearly labeled. There are two pieces of legislation on the E.U. side pertaining to nuclear sanctions and there are two pieces which pertain to human rights sanctions. So it's obvious which ones are part of the current debate around the negotiations, which would be part of a comprehensive deal.
Finally, the question, what are the sanctions which ought to be lifted? I point out in the paper a number of ideas which all have to do with three different elements. One is providing Iran or granting Iran money, financial means, both old and new money; old money meaning unlocking funds which were previously frozen, and new money, fresh money meaning allowing Iran to export oil to third countries, most of all, but providing oil for the energy market.
The second set of sanctions which could be lifted is to ease restrictions which are directed at the civilian economy, to ease the business – the normal businesses which were put under focus as part of these comprehensive sanctions. And finally, the third set would be to unfreeze – sorry – to unfreeze individual assets and to lift travel bans. There is a long list of people and institutions which have been put on E.U. sanctions list. So going down this list and potentially delisting individuals or companies could be part of the mix. So three areas of sanctions where easing of sanctions could take place.
Finally, just by way of conclusion, let me mention that I was speaking and also in my brief I'm speaking about the autonomous part of sanctions. That is the part where both the U.S. and the E.U. put sanctions out individually, not within the UN context, so lifting the sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council is also – should also be part of the debate, though it is not part of the brief so much.
And if I may, I don't like to thread onto Ken's turf, the U.S. sanctions, but just because I put it into my brief also, knowing about, as I said, the easiness of the European part of the sanctions equation, I said that in a perfect world, in which we don't live in, we know every day by the news, but in a perfect world, it would help if the E.U. – sorry – if the United States could pass a new set of sanctions, something that I call in the paper the Iran sanctions and nuclear safeguards and verification act. So creating, in a way harmonizing the existing sets of sanctions, CISADA, the Iran Sanctions Act, putting it into a new piece of legislation, which contains all the sanctions which have been put out so far, minus the ones which ought to be lifted through the comprehensive agreement.
It would be a way of having Congress continuing to (impose ?) sanctions, rather than appearing to be lifting so many of the sanctions. That's something that I'm happy to debate further and I look forward to your questions and comments. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
MS. SLAVIN: Cornelius, thank you very much. I don't know if you can see me. I think you can see the people in the room, hopefully.
I want to say, again, how proud we are of both of our authors for dealing with this incredibly complicated topic and finding some real pathways that could work. We'll see. I sent these papers off to the Iranians. We'll see what their reaction is. And obviously, we don't know what's going on right now in Vienna, but presumably, one of the most important issues is synchronizing certain steps by Iran regarding its nuclear program with the relief of certain sanctions. So hopefully this will play a real important role and make a contribution to this debate.
I'm going to start with one question for both Ken and Cornelius. And that's the question of what, I think you called, Cornelius, over compliance with sanctions. We have a situation now where sanctions have been so effective that even those kinds of transactions which are permitted under U.S. and European sanctions law have not been taking place; namely, providing medicine and food and other sorts of humanitarian trade involving Iran.
What makes you – maybe I'll start with you, Cornelius – think that if we get a longterm nuclear agreement, suddenly European companies, banks, and so on will no longer be over complying and will actually be willing to return to the Iranian market in a way that will justify Iran's nuclear concessions for the Iranian people.
MR. ADEBAHR: Well, I'm trying to say that it's not a done deal, and that's why I put so much focus on actually getting the private sector into doing business with Iran again as soon as it's allowed. As I say, the implementation phase after the interim agreement has shown that companies have been very hesitant, not least because there were, say, different messages – a very strong message from the United States that Iran is not open for business. And if one can say – I mean, much more toned down messages from European governments. There have been official delegations from different European countries traveling to Iran, at least showing that they are interested in business. They would not venture to do business now because it's still an unclear situation and the timeframe of six months is too low to start anything serious. But there is an interest and some see the, say, very big French delegation also as a sign by French businessmen that they want this business to be theirs again after a comprehensive deal is struck.
So in a sentence, it very much comes down to how much the U.S. can signal that this is actually substantial sanctions relief, that there will be not any type of sanctioning of companies that do business within the legal boundaries which are to be established by the comprehensive agreement.
MS. SLAVIN: Okay, Ken, maybe the same question to you. And also, if I could throw in, you know, Congress is trying already to have so-called snap back provisions, where if there is any suspicion that Iran is violating a deal, the old sanctions will all come back. And Congress is also trying to come in through the side window with sanctions that are the same as the nuclear sanctions, but related to human rights, related to Hezbollah, so on and so forth.
MR. KATZMAN: Yeah, well, I mean, those are issues that have concerned the Congress for many years. But I mean, I think it is just again goes to the difficulty of terminating sanctions. I think, again, what I tried to outline is sort of a year or two where we have a deal, it's implemented through waivers, and then there's a track record. Iran is complying for a year or two years. The issue of an Iranian nuclear weapon appears to be off the table. No threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon. I think that's the kind of environment where, you know, you could see perhaps legislative action to roll back the sanctions.
On the food and medical, the issue is mainly financing. The issue is the banking system. Trade financing for Iran basically locked up. Once CISADA was passed, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Accountability and Divestment Act of 2010, PL 111-195, Section 6, banks just do not want to handle Iran transactions. They don't want to take a risk. They don't want to spend the time or money evaluating is this a transaction I can finance legally and legitimately. Is this something I cannot finance legally or legitimately? They just won't touch it.
So the issue is transactions with Iran in almost any type of product has to be transacted in basically cash, which makes it very difficult because Iran can't then buy in bulk and get the discount that you get by buying in big quantities. Automobiles, for example, you know, an Iranian car importer – maybe they can buy 10 vehicles with cash. They can't buy 100 or 1,500 vehicles with cash. So they don't get as good a price and they don't make as much money. The whole trade system locked up. And we see it not only in automobiles and auto parts and other goods, but unfortunately in food and medicine. So the very expensive medicines, like the breast cancer, the anti-cancer drugs, the really high expense medicines are very hard for them to get because they're so expensive and they can't get financing for it.
MS. SLAVIN: I'm going to open it up to your questions now. Wait for the microphone and please state your name and ask a question. Do not make a speech.
Q: Thank you. It's Dana Marshall with Transnational Strategy Group. Thank you so much for putting this on. It's a very timely event. I had maybe a question for both of the speakers, if possible. And maybe this one is outside of your comfort zone, Ken. If it is, I certainly understand if it is. But you know, when you talked about the timeline, October maybe two years of performance before ISA would need to be either sunset or renewed, you know, another – there's another thing called the presidential election in that period as well.
So immediately, the politics come in. And there's dramatically new politics from both parties, I think, both U.S. political parties on Iran. Certainly, nobody knows what's going to happen after our midterm, but given, let's say, the Congress we have now, if you could comment a little bit on the feeling on the Hill broadly about these questions. When you talk about waiving for long time, that's fine if that's accepted. That immediately invokes the politics of this.
And the question for Cornelius is, if you could elaborate a little bit about the impact of the litigation in E.U. courts regarding identification of particular sanctioned persons and how that might affect what may happen on the European side.
MR. KATZMAN: Yeah, I mean, I can't say much to, you know, the sentiment in Congress, unfortunately. But there was a part of your question that I thought I could answer. I'm just trying to think of what it was.
You know, I mean, the issue is we go back to the 30 years. You know, it's been, you know, the psychological effect of the hostage crisis and the Marine barracks – I mean, I don't have to rehash the litany, you know, we all know. You know, it's just – it's just very difficult. I mean, I think – oh, that's what I was going to say. Yes, there's a part of it I can answer, on waivers.
The president issues a waiver. The Congress does not vote yes or no to the waiver. The administration issues a waiver, here's the justification, here's why I'm waiving. The Congress does not get a vote up or down, so the waiver goes through. That's the way the system works. Now, Congress could – if they feel the president has been waiving things without proper justification, they have the option of passing new legislation to tighten the waiver authority, change the waiver authority. But when a waiver is issued, it goes into force.
And what I was going to say in my presentation and forgot also was that all – you know, in our system, basically, agreements reached by one administration are generally binding on the next administration. I was at a conference – I was at a panel last week where we had some debate about this, but basically – I see somebody that was there – but if the president – if President Obama agrees, if he signs on the dotted line, I'm agreeing that this deal is in our interests, and he issues the waiver, he is putting the United States into an agreement to uphold our part of the bargain.
So issuing waivers pursuant to that in my – I'm not a constitutional attorney or anything, but I would view that as binding on the next president to have to then continue to keep those sanctions eased. Under the – under the way the system works, the next president could not just come in and say, I disagree, that that shouldn't have been – that's just not how the constitutional system works, even though it's with waivers. The waiver would be binding – I read it – on the next president.
MS. SLAVIN: There was a piece of that for Cornelius. Yeah. Do you remember what it was?
MR. ADEBAHR: Yes. Yes. I remember. Litigation. And thank you very much, Dana, for the question, which allows me to bring in one aspect, which is – again, which differentiates E.U. sanctions from U.S. sanctions because there is traditional – (audio break) – of E.U. sanctions and this is what you refer to that individuals and entities which have been on the E.U. sanctions list have actually complained to the European Court of Justice and have fought against their being listed and have won on many instances.
What is the background to this? Normally, also, the E.U. tries to have foreign policy outside of the competence of its courts. But because the listing of individuals and entities is then an infringement of these individuals' and entities' rights, the European Court of Justice has said that it has the right to rule on whether or not the process to imposing sanctions has been a due process, whether it's been within legal bounds. So it doesn't judge on the substances of a sanctions decision, but it rules on the imposition of sanctions.
This has led to – how can I say – to a refinement of E.U. sanctions. The E.U. now not only informs the individuals about being listed. It also gives reasons for the listing and all this can be verified in court.
The lifting of sanctions could also be equally ruled upon. Of course, this could be that some entities which are not put on the delisting would want to go to court. But I do not see so much of an influence here that the European Court of Justice could have because, ultimately, the decision on what companies or what individuals to delist is a political one. It is part of the comprehensive deal that should come about.
So it is not within the jurisdiction of the court to actually address the question why some individuals were delisted and others were not. So it's a different picture from when the E.U. was imposing sanctions, but it is true to point out to this, well, same peculiarity of the E.U. system where we actually have court decisions on the E.U. sanctions.
MS. SLAVIN: Okay. Thank you. Bill Honig (ph), wait for a microphone.
Q: Bill Honig (ph), International Center for Terrorism Studies. A brief mentions was made at the U.N. sanctions, which 1929 is the last. But what about the lifting of those sanctions and is that –
MS. SLAVIN: Ken, do you want to go? I can also go?
MR. KATZMAN: Why don't you start? I'll –
MS. SLAVIN: Yeah. I think that one of the understandings is that there will be a new U.N. resolution that will be passed, that will encompass whatever the long-term nuclear agreement, you know, entails. So since the U.N. sanctions were the basis for most of the sanctions accepted by the Europeans and others internationally, that will have to come as well. Yeah.
MR. KATZMAN: And the Joint Plan of Action says that a comprehensive deal must meet the requirements of all U.N. resolutions. So, presumably, if there is a comprehensive deal, Iran would have met the requirements, and, therefore, the council could then act to repeal whatever sanctions were authorized by those resolutions.
MS. SLAVIN: Yeah. In the back there.
Q: Hi. Larry Hanauer from RAND Corporation. Good to see you again. We've been talking so far about what would happen if Iran is compliant with whatever commitments it makes.
So I wonder, Ken, if you can talk a little bit about what Congress might do if that's not the case, for example, what might Congress do to try to compel Iranian compliance if it's not forthcoming? Or what might Congress do if Iran simply doesn't comply either because it's negotiating in bad faith or because Iran feels that we're negotiating in bad faith and maybe we're not going to follow on what it expects of us. So what could Congress do in those other circumstances that are not quite as optimistic?
MR. KATZMAN: Didn't recognize you with the beard, by the way. You know, I think – well, let me be a little – you know, I'm bound by – I still have to be careful what I say. There was legislation passed, you know, by the House. There was a Senate bill introduced. President Obama threatened to veto that Senate bill because it was being passed after the JPA was agreed. Even though the sanctions would go into effect after, it's still – he viewed it as somewhat of a violation of what we had agreed with the Iranians so he threatened to veto and it didn't – it didn't move forward.
Now, if Iran was seen as negotiating in bad faith at some point, you know, the longer – you know, if there's an extension of the JPA, let's say, in July, and then we get to September, October, and we're still not moving forward so to speak, you know, the chances of Congress or even, you know – I mean, President Obama has said, if Iran is not complying, we will work to impose new sanctions, so even the administration has said this.
So, you know, the longer we go without a deal, certainly the chances rise for new sanctions to be imposed. I can't say specifically what, you know, would be imposed. You know, there were some views and there were some provisions in those legislations. I can, you know, refer you to those, sure.
MS. SLAVIN: Yes. The man here. Wait for the mic.
Q: Thank you. My name is Rashad Abelson (ph) with the Syrian National Coalition. And I was hoping you can elaborate more on over-compliance. What can policymakers do to ensure that the private sector – to curb over-compliance in the private sector, what can they do to encourage banks to help out maybe students applying for student loans or small businesses or those non-targets of the sanctions?
MS. SLAVIN: I'll let Ken talk to this, but we at the Atlantic Council recommended last year that the United States and Iran set up an authorized channel for all humanitarian transactions. And this is something that the U.S. has not yet done. I have had conversations with some officials at the Treasury Department who have hinted to me broadly that maybe this would follow a long-term agreement. I would imagine it's one of the things that's being negotiated right now in Vienna because the Iranians have been disappointed that even, as I mentioned, where trade is authorized, there are no U.S. banks that are willing to handle it.
Now, I understand that some means have been found through third country banks – European, Asian banks – to allow Iran to get back in installments $4.2 billion of its frozen assets. These are oil revenues that have been locked up in banks in Japan, and South Korea, and India, Turkey. So some mechanism has been found – third-party mechanism. But in terms of U.S.-Iran, obviously, it would be enormously helpful if there was an American bank that would be willing to have contact. Not all Iranian banks have been sanctioned. There are three or four that have not been sanctioned. And, as I mentioned, these kinds of transactions were supposed to be allowed to take place.
I don't know, Ken or Cornelius, you want to add to that issue of how we – Cornelius, would you expect that Iran would get back into SWIFT and be able to do electronic transactions again?
MR. ADEBAHR: Well, if that is part of the deal that Iran ought to be allowed back into SWIFT, then the E.U. would lift these sanctions, and, as much as I know, SWIFT would also resume business with Iranian banks. The same holds true for European banks.
There is one – there if, of course, the substance of what sanctions are lifted. Then there is, of course, the symbolism or at least the perception of what the U.S. position is. So, yes, it has been particular banks in Europe which have been over compliant. I know individual cases where Iranian students who had an account in Germany with a regular German bank, they were suddenly forced out of these accounts for simply – for the simple fact of being Iranians and they could have been seen as a risk as part of the sanctions regime.
So I would assume that if there is, as I say, easing of sanctions, if there is broadly a positive attitude towards doing business with Iran, it would be fairly easy for a European bank to get into business again, as I say, as part of what is allowed at the given moment.
MS. SLAVIN: Oh, okay. Apparently there's somebody from SWIFT in the audience. I don't know if they want to say something. Sorry. Ken, do you want to add –
MR. KATZMAN: No. I mean, I would – again, when we were talking about what's a nuclear-related sanction, what's not, clearly, the Iranians – and I think they'll have some justification – will argue that the SWIFT ban was a nuclear-related sanctions because it was imposed in the cycle of trying to get Iran to the nuclear table. So I think Iran will demand that. The JPA says a comprehensive deal will result in the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions. So I would expect the SWIFT would be lifted – that that ban would be lifted, I would expect.
MS. SLAVIN: Yes, the lady in the front.
Q: Thank you. I'm Joanne Thornton with Policy Connections International. And this is mainly for Ken, but there may be some E.U. implications, too. Anyway, the question regards sub-national sanctions. More than half of our states have imposed divestiture measures and/or restrictions on doing business, restrictions on contracting with companies that are – have been engaged in business in Iran. And many of those were imposed well before 2010.
And so I'm wondering how you see those unwinding? Would it require the rollback or the expiration of the Iran Sanctions Act, for example, for that to really take hold? And then, in the E.U., I don't know if a similar situation exists where some of the member states have imposed sanctions either in parallel or above and beyond what the commission has authorized. Thank you.
MR. KATZMAN: What I would say is, the CISADA – is the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Accountability and Divestment Act – so there has been national legislation that has facilitated this state divestment that you (abide ?), and it's granted also pension fund managers safe harbor if they divest from companies doing business in Iran, they can't be sued by saying, you hurt my investment return because you judged this based on some national security issue rather than the financial merits of the corporation, et cetera. So if CISADA is, you know, unwound, let's say, that could, you know, give cover to those states that want to unwind some of those provisions.
Now, you know, again with the – you know, federal government, the way our structure works, the U.S. government I don't think can order any state to roll back these provisions. But, you know, I think the issue is when the climate changes and Iran is complying and we have a deal and everybody gets more comfortable with Iran, then these things can start to abate. That would be my forecast.
MS. SLAVIN: Okay. Yes.
MR. ADEBAHR: Shall I answer?
MS. SLAVIN: Yeah, please.
MR. ADEBAHR: Yeah. Sorry. I guess it's fair to say that among E.U. member states there hasn't been an urge to impose additional sanctions to what the E.U. has imposed. There is a – it's more of a technical issue that some of the sanctions that the E.U. has imposed, in particular travel bans for individuals and the weapons export bans – they need national legislation to come into force because the E.U. as such cannot legislate in these areas. These are – this is the competence of member states, individual travel, migration, passports as well as weapons exports.
So these in these areas, all 28 member states have put out legislation which is compliant with E.U. sanctions. But then, again, once the E.U. were to lift sanctions, these national legislations would immediately – I mean, certainly, immediately be also put out of force. So there is nothing comparable to what the U.S. has.
MS. SLAVIN: Okay. Very good.
MR. KATZMAN: You know, I just wanted to add, I'm guilty of malpractice today because there was a major issue that I totally have not addressed yet. Can I address it?
MS. SLAVIN: Please.
MR. KATZMAN: The issue of whether U.S. corporations are going to be allowed to resume business with Iran if there's a deal. Why did I not address this? The sanctions that I was talking about that we're all discussing are mainly secondary sanctions. They are sanctions applying to foreign companies dealing with Iran. There is a ban on U.S. trade with Iran. There is a ban on U.S. investment in Iran. So the question is, if there's a deal, are the sanctions – the secondary sanctions are going to be eased and is the ban on U.S. corporations trading with Iran going to be eased?
My own forecast based on conversations around town is I am doubtful. I think U.S. corporations will continue to be – I think the trade ban will probably stay in place. It was imposed in 1995 – May 1995, for issues that predated really the nuclear issue because Iran's nuclear program was extremely embryonic at the time.
And my assumption and my assessment is that will perhaps be addressed when the broader issues with Iran are addressed beyond the nuclear issue: Hezbollah, terrorism, Syria, Bahrain, you know, the litany – Hamas. When there's some broad settlement with Iran, then I think you will see that fall into place, too. That would be my forecast.
MS. SLAVIN: And when Americans are back in Iran as diplomats and the embassy reopens maybe. Maybe then, yeah?
Harlan, you had a question, yeah?
Q: Thank you. Barbara, I'd like to expand and probably complicate this discussion of sanctions, but to include you in terms of the responders. Regarding what's happening in Iraq right now and John Kerry saying that we may be able to negotiate with Iran, one can foresee all sorts of interesting implications with negotiations not only with Iran but possibly Saudi Arabia, Israel and other countries in the region on the notion that ISIS or ISIL is far more dangerous Assad, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And, indeed, we could find ourselves – somebody mentioned the other day flying air cover for the Quds Force possibly. It would not be the first time.
And so I wonder how you would take this broader concept, issue, because sanctions then become very important. If I, obviously, were an Iranian, I would say, well, listen, guys, maybe we could have some leverage here or not, but, on the larger sense, what do you think we might be able to expect in terms of Iranian support since we face probably a much larger threat combined? And how would you see the very complicated issues of sanctions being engaged as complicating or helpful tools?
MS. SLAVIN: Thank you very much for the question. I just actually wrote a piece for Al Jazeera America on this very topic, in which I said, don't expect to see Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force, invited to the Situation Room of the White House anytime soon.
You know, we have certain interests that are the same as the Iranians' in terms of seeing Sunni Islamic fundamentalism as a bigger threat than some other threats that are out there. And, as I said, this wouldn't be the first time we were providing air cover for the Quds Force. We did it in Afghanistan when the Northern Alliance, with advisers from the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guard, were providing targeting information to us in terms of what to hit in the Taliban positions and helped us overthrow the Taliban. It would not have been possible to overthrow the Taliban as quickly as we did without the Northern Alliance, which was an Afghan group very, very close to the Iranians, aided by the Revolutionary Guards.
So here we are again. It's been fascinating to watch the debate in his town with Lindsay Graham reminding people of the – the fact that we collaborated with Stalin against Hitler, and basically saying that, you know, Iran is bad but it's not as bad as ISIS. And I would certainly concur with him on that.
I think it's going to be tricky. There are some ways in which – obviously, we're going to be dealing with the official Iraqi organizations, the official Iraqi military. The Iranians are going to be doing what they always do, which is augmenting the militias, the special groups that we fought against when we were involved in Iraq.
But I was talking about this earlier with Ken. One area is if the U.S. and Iran can agree that Mr. Maliki, after eight years of misrule, should leave the scene and a new individual, who is less polarizing should be the prime minister of Iraq, obviously would have to be a Shia. You could have a defense minister who was a Kurd or an Arab Sunni that would be perhaps acceptable. Maliki has absorbed all the power for himself. He is the defense minister. He is the interior minister. That has to stop.
So if we could reach an understanding – and, as we speak, I would imagine Bill Burns and Javad Zarif are sitting in Vienna talking about Iraq. The administration, the senior administration, official, in a briefing this morning said that, yes, Iraq would be discussed on the margins of the P-5 plus One talks about the nuclear issues. So perhaps Bill Burns and Javad Zarif are saying, as they once, you know, talked about who could be the next head of Afghanistan. Unfortunately, they chose Hamid Karzai but that's another matter. Maybe they're saying, well, could it be Adil Abdul-Mahdi from ISCI, another Shia Iraqi organization who we like. He's got a better reputation, frankly, than Maliki did in this town.
If we can reach a deal on that and on a political settlement for Iraq, maybe some other pieces can follow and the U.S. can provide more intelligence, some drone strikes, whatever, and can start to contain and roll back ISIS in Iraq, and, also, hopefully, in Syria.
MR. KATZMAN: Yeah. I'm a little less optimistic about – I think what's –
MS. SLAVIN: I wasn't saying I was optimistic. I was saying it was a possibility.
MR. KATZMAN: No, no, no. For the United States to help Maliki, Mr. Obama – if you're reading – you know, just reading the statements, it's obvious he's – he wants Maliki out of there and then we would be more forthcoming. I think that's pretty obvious from the statements. Maliki does not want to leave. So what he's going to go is turn to the Iranians and say, okay. The United States has conditions. I don't want these conditions. So here the Iranians are willing to help me. They'll help me recruit the Shia militias. They'll help me get them to the front. They'll pay them – help me pay them.
So I think it's going to be sort of a tussle between the U.S. and Iran with Maliki preferring to work with the Iranians because they don't put any conditions on him. They want him to stay. They're perfectly okay with him staying. We are not comfortable with him. That's obvious. So I think he is looking for alternatives.
Q: But now, Maliki and the – (off mic) – and it's not at all clear that he is going to become the next prime minister. In fact, the chances – (off mic) – assume that he will.
MS. SLAVIN: They didn't get last – as they got 92 seats so they got a plurality but not a majority in the April elections.
MR. KATZMAN: Well, they won 92 seats. They did very well. Ninety-two seats, much bigger than anybody else. Yeah. They won more seats than they did last time.
MS. SLAVIN: But there is no new government. There is an acting government in place since the election. So this does provide an opportunity for a completely different cabinet in Iraq. So, you know, I think the Iranians, too – and there are others in this audience who may know better and want to speak to it – but I remember very strongly after 9/11 how the Iranians saw this as a great opportunity to change the nature of the relationship with the United States because we faced a common threat. We had an agreement that the Taliban must go.
So I'm sure there are some in Iran, particularly among the reformists who see this as another opportunity to remind the United States that Iran opposes these groups, which also threaten the United States. It's there. We'll see. We'll see if we can develop that.
I do think though – and my last point on this is that it should help us get a nuclear deal because the Iranians now are really overburdened in terms of supporting the Assad government in Syria, now propping up the Shiites in Iraq. They need a nuclear deal. They need sanctions relief, bringing it back to our topic at hand. So perhaps it can have a good effect there.
Cornelius, do you want to enter this discussion?
MR. ADEBAHR: Not on Iraq. I'm not going to venture in this territory.
MS. SLAVIN: Okay. And here. Sure. Wait for the mic.
Q: I wonder if I could maybe just ask one other question on that very important point, Ken, that you mentioned about the impact of all this on U.S. companies. This becomes a very fine legal argument but I'm sure you're up to it. The question of whether U.S. subsidiaries abroad – how do you think that plays out? Can U.S. companies truly not play at all until there is an embassy or a (border ?) set? Or do you think there might be some opportunity under the sanctions that could be repealed that would affect the ability of U.S. subs abroad?
MR. KATZMAN: If the sanction – if the secondary sanctions that we're talking about are lifted or even suspended, U.S. subsidiaries would be able to resume their – they are – for all practical purposes, legal purposes, they are foreign companies. They may be a subsidiary of a U.S. company, but they are incorporated in the country where they're operating. They are for all practical purposes a foreign company so they would be then allowed – no penalty – to resume their engagement with Iran. Wholly owned by –
Q: (Off mic.)
MR. KATZMAN: All right. Now, I'm – yeah. I'm not a – I'm not a trade lawyer.
MS. SLAVIN: Yeah, we need a sanctions lawyer, a trade lawyer in the audience if there is one.
MR. KATZMAN: I think it has to be less than 50 percent U.S. ownership.
MS. SLAVIN: Okay. The gentleman there. Wait for the mic.
Q: Thank you for doing this. My name is Wada (ph). I'm with Japan's "Mais" (ph) Newspaper. And my question is about this talk they would have on the side of that in Geneva. How long do you think it will take for the United States and Iran to come up with some kind of a deal over what they're going to do in Iraq?
MS. SLAVIN: In Iraq?
MR. KATZMAN: In Iraq.
MS. SLAVIN: You know, I think that the effort now is on – I mean, there's a bit of a pause here. We see that ISIS has kind of stopped 30 miles or 60 miles, is it, from Baghdad? There's a little bit – a little bit of time for everyone to catch a breath and regroup.
John Kerry gave an interview to Katie Couric today – I refer you to that – where he was asked specifically whether he could envision military cooperation between the U.S. and Iran in Iraq. And he basically said it's possible.
Q: (Off mic.)
MS. SLAVIN: Yeah, but – yeah. Yeah. Well, you know, again, I think a lot is going to have to do with the political conditions in Baghdad, as I said, and as Ken said also. President Obama has made it pretty clear that we've had it with Maliki. Look, here's a guy who refused to sign a status of forces agreement with the United States and threw us out in 2011. And now he's begging us for Apache helicopters and F-16s and drones? I don't know what Iraqi for chutzpah is, but that's certainly –
MR. KATZMAN: We agreed to sell it to them.
MS. SLAVIN: Yeah. A lot of nerve. So if we can reach some sort of accommodation with the Iranians on pushing Maliki aside and getting somewhat better government – he may have already alienated the Sunnis and the Kurds to such an extent that, you know, this isn't going to be possible and we're just going to see a division of Iraq into three, like Joe Biden predicted years ago. But I think – I think that's really the only potential.
MR. KATZMAN: Yeah, what I would add, I mean, my – the scenarios I'm talking with people around town is if Baghdad is really threatened and it's going to fall, we might work with the Iranians to prevent that. We might take actions – I don't know – to prevent that. It doesn't look like that's going to happen.
The idea that we're going to help Maliki and the Iranians push the Sunnis back from where they advanced to – my sense talking to people is that's something that there's not a lot of appetite for. It's not just ISIS. They've been joined by tribes. They've been joined by other Sunnis. I think saying it's all ISIS is a bit simplistic. So I don't see us working with, you know, Shia militias and Shias to re-conquer the Sunnis. I really don't see that. If it's a question of defending Baghdad and getting a frontline set up north of Baghdad, then I think we're inclined to entertain that. Yeah.
MS. SLAVIN: I think there's also potential for a more complicated discussion that would bring in the Saudis, the Turks and others to talk about the region as a whole so this isn't just Iraq. This is Iraq and Syria, and two civil wars going on, two countries fragmenting. And there are going to need to be at some point discussions certainly between the Saudis and the Iranians.
Q: (Off mic.)
MS. SLAVIN: Start of a process, yeah. Start of a process. But it's good that the United States and Iran are talking to each other about something other than the nuclear issue because they had vowed we – you know, we've heard them vow for months now, no, no, it's only the nuclear issue, as though they were going to catch some terrible disease if they talk to Iran about something else. And so that taboo has been broken and I think that's useful for the overall relationship.
Yes. Right there. Wait for the mic.
Q: Hi. I'm Ian Andrews from the University of Maryland. I got here a little late so I'm sorry if you already addressed it, but given the effect of current sanctions on Iran's economy and particularly over-compliance, like you mentioned, if Iran should decide not to comply with future agreements, how effective do you think these other sanctions that you discussed a little bit before, how effective do you think they'll be in sort of placing more pressure on Iran or do you think sanctions are becoming less effective as the effects of over-compliance become worse?
MR. KATZMAN: Well, you know, we haven't seen a drop off in compliance. There was no sanctions fatigue really, no sanctions unraveling maybe like we saw with Iraq. So if there's no deal, and Iran – if there's no deal, I think we go back to the status quo ante. And Iran's economy, you know, they've had a negative 5 percent in 2013. That's a deep – that's a deep recession. I mean, if we – the 2008 recession here was about negative 4 percent and that was devastating, so negative 5 percent is tough. So I think the Iranian incentive is to avoid that, which is why I think they want to get an agreement with us.
MS. SLAVIN: And the lady over here in red.
Q: Thank you so much. And thanks for your presentation, Ken. I'm Toby Dershowitz (ph). Can you speak a little bit about banking sanctions? As I recall, specifically, like the Patriot Act 311, Section 311 was put in place not in connection with the nuclear deals but because Iran has a rich – unfortunately rich history of sanctions busting, corruption, et cetera. The 311 was put in place to address that issue, and, as far as we can tell, they continue to do that. Could you comment on that? Thank you.
MR. KATZMAN: My assessment is that that was put in place I think, you know, as part of the cycle to pressure Iran into a nuclear deal and I would image that under a comprehensive deal that that would be unwound. That would be my assessment. Yeah.
MS. SLAVIN: And over there.
Q: Kimen Bugjiraf (ph) from U.S. – (inaudible) – Associates. We talk a lot about sanctions against states, but there is still a lot of sanctions against those who breach the sanctions: financial institutions, for example. And there was this case, you know, with the P&P Airbus, which is sued for 10 billion (dollars) for sending money in Iran. And for all the examples I have in mind, the U.S. is suing these financial institutions.
So we have – excuse me – Mr. Adebahr in Berlin. Can you tell me more about all the measures in place in the E.U. to sue the financial institutions or individuals that breach sanctions? Do the E.U. sue these institutions with as much energy as the U.S.?
MS. SLAVIN: Did you understand, Cornelius?
MR. ADEBAHR: Yes. Yes. I do understand. But, as I said previously, the main financial sanction or the sanctions against banks as institutions comes from the U.S. It's the extra-territorial sanctions coming from the U.S. And I said briefly when I spoke about the interdependence that those extra-territorial sanctions by the U.S. go in sync with the SWIFT sanctions from the E.U. So what you describe would actually mean that SWIFT, the company, violates the sanctions which were imposed – I mean, the fact that it was forbidden to service Iranian banks and, well, SWIFT is – hasn't done this and it's certainly not going to do this.
So there is much less – given the architecture of the sanctions, there is much less of a sanctioning from the – on the behalf of the E.U. – of banks or companies sanctioning them for their behavior. This is – and this is also why this issue of over-compliance has arisen because European banks, they want to do business with the U.S., with U.S. companies and they value their U.S. business much more than any relations – any business relations with Iran. In a nutshell, it's – ultimately, it's the U.S. secondary legislation which is responsible for this.
MS. SLAVIN: Yes, right here.
Q: Alan Keyter (ph) – (inaudible) – Middle East Institute. And my question is for Ken. I guess I'm a little surprised to learn there's such broad waiver authority. But my question is there are a lot of congressmen and senators who are really looking for a toehold to force congressional consideration of any deal. Where is it? Is there some legal provision that will say the Congress has to approve this?
MR. KATZMAN: I can't answer it. Sorry.
Q: All right. Thank you.
MS. SLAVIN: My understanding, I mean, if you – I don't like to refer to the agreed framework with North Korea because there is no comparison between North Korea and Iran, in my view, that holds up. But the agreed framework was never submitted – this is the 1994 agreement – with North Korea was never submitted to a congressional vote. And this agreement won't be submitted to a congressional vote either. Well, does Congress have to approve any deal in a formal sense? No.
MR. KATZMAN: Oh, I thought you were asking is Congress seeking to have the authority to approve the deal.
MS. SLAVIN: Oh, is seeking.
MR. KATZMAN: Okay.
MS. SLAVIN: Similar, but Congress doesn't –
MR. KATZMAN: Do they have the authority?
MS. SLAVIN: They don't actually.
MR. KATZMAN: No. There wouldn't – no. It wouldn't be – it would be an executive agreement. So, no. There would not be a vote on. We had the strategic framework agreement with Iraq. We had the strategic partnership with Afghanistan. None of those were submitted, so I doubt it. No.
MS. SLAVIN: Okay. And I think we've exhausted you. So we'll let you all go watch the Iran-Nigeria game, which – I can't see the score from here, but it's on our screen outside. Thank you all very much for coming.
And let me also thank the Ploughshares Fund, which I neglected to do earlier, which has generously supported all of these events by the Iran Task Force and all the reports that we put out. Both reports are outside. I encourage you to get copies and to continue to follow this issue. And I'm sure we will be having more of them soon. So thank you very much. (Applause.)
MR. ADEBAHR: Thank you.
MS. SLAVIN: And we will be posting an audio of this even before the close of business today, so I encourage you to look for that if you missed anything. And they're on the website. You can go there to AtlanticCouncil.org and please tweet them out. Put them on Facebook. Thank you.