Iranian Parliament research service outlines steps for verification of sanctions lifting

December 7, 2021 - 21:23

TEHRAN – The Iranian Parliament’s research service has published a one-of-a-kind report on how to verify a potential lifting of U.S. sanctions on Iran from the Iranian perspective in case the Vienna talks culminated in an agreement. 

The 33-page report, titled Verification of Sanctions Removal; Main Topics and Executive Aspect, offers a “comprehensive guideline” regarding the verification of the lifting of the sanctions. 

It has been compiled and published by the influential Islamic Parliament Research Center (IPRC), a think tank-styled studies center providing the Parliament with research and studies of legislative interest. 

The executive summary of the report underlines the need to turn verification into an “inevitable demand” in the negotiations process as per the provisions of a nuclear law obligating the Iranian government to take certain measures if the other sides party to the 2015 nuclear deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), failed to fulfill their obligations. 

“According to the provisions of Article (7) of the law on ‘Strategic Action to remove Sanctions and Protect Iranian Nation's Interests,’ as well as the definite policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the verification of the removal of sanctions and its subsequent benefits for Iran's economy should be the inevitable demand of the foreign policy apparatus in any negotiation process. In other words, the removal of Iran sanctions, regardless of the realization of the legal aspects of removing sanctions (removal of sanctions on paper), should provide tangible benefits for Iran's economy due to the removed sanctions,” the executive summary stipulates. “Regarding the thirteenth government coming to power, the following report as a comprehensive guideline can play an essential role in advancing verification if the new government seriously considers the issue of Verification.”

According to the IPRC report, verification has two main factors: monitoring guideline and monitoring organization. “Verification is a continuous activity in which a monitoring organization evaluates the other participants’ compliance with the agreement provisions based on objective indicators and criteria related to the type of obligations,” it said. 

It added, “Therefore, three essential requirements must be considered in determining the verification process: first, developing a comprehensive, operational, and measurable guideline. Second, determining the unique features for the first stage of verification. Third, determining the quality and aspects of periodic verification.”

The report proposes three main topics to meet the mentioned three
requirements, which will be presented as follows:

A) The verification authority can be beyond the parliament’s approved power organizations such as the Supreme National Security Council or the Iranian Supervisory Committee on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or even a newly established body with a professional expertise structure and a permanent secretariat. This authority has the responsibility to compose periodic reports on the verification of the removal of sanctions to decide whether Iran should continue to comply with the agreement or take countermeasure in the form of reducing or suspending its commitments. This authority has three crucial tasks: 1. Monitoring and analyzing the benefits of Iran's economy due to removed sanctions, 2. Receiving complaint letter from an Iranian citizen or institution (especially those individuals and entities that have been removed from the sanctions list) about the "Violation of JCPOA or the impossibility of deriving benefit from the removed sanctions"; 3. Develop a regulation for countermeasures. This includes but is not limited to implementing its provisions in proportion to the other participants' non-compliance by introducing a regulation that mandates suspending, stopping, or reducing nuclear activity limitations as countermeasures. 

B) Providing a verification checklist of removing sanctions and permission to resume nuclear-related measures based on the JCPOA for the first stage of verification: The provisions of the proposed checklist of verification of removing sanctions are presented in two parts: Factors of the actual removal of sanctions: it includes realizing the minimum thresholds for oil sales and transactions with German EIH and Bank Tejarat branch of Paris, revoking U.S. President's executive orders, reviewing the related FAQ's of the OFAC website, avoiding issuing warning notices, and issuing specific and general Licenses for foreign individuals and legal entities who want to cooperate with Iran's economy.

 Factors of reducing the risk of economic cooperation with Iran

The criteria of this topic are the acceptance of legal commitment and the adoption of practical measures by the leaders of the other participant countries on the normalization of trade and economic relationship with Iran, that include: 

- Revoking executive orders and other regulations, continuing the issuance of the certification of Iran’s compliance to JCPOA, eliminating instructions and advisories introducing the Iranian economy as a jurisdiction with a high risk of money laundering, and issuing orders or approving regulations that are necessary measures for normalizing trade relationship with Iran.

- Avoiding any negative comments or actions discouraging nations from cooperating with Iran and acknowledging the possibility of establishing medium and long-term cooperation with Iran's economy.

- Altering the approach of Financial Crimes Executive Network (FinCEN) of United States Department of the Treasury from Risk-Based to Rule-Based.

- Removing Iranian individuals, entities, vessels, and aircraft from the sanctions lists and fundamentally revising the SDN and non-SDN lists. 

- Eliminating warning instructions and advisories from OFAC and other U.S. agencies on trade of humanitarian goods and maritime trade with Iran.

C) Checklist of continuity of benefits from removed sanctions and issuance of periodic licenses to allow Iran to continue the implementation of JCPOA (Periodic Verification): on the issue of Continuity of Verification, it is recommended that the process of deriving benefit should be verified continuously and to publish the reports of this verification every three months. The threshold for the first part of continuous verification is 2.5 million barrels per day export of oil and condensate, monthly transactions of Iranian individuals and entities with the EIH Bank in Germany and the Paris branch of Tejarat bank worth at least $4.2 and $1.5 billion respectively.

In addition, the normalization of trade and international cooperation with the sanctioned sectors of Iran's economy is considered the basis for continuing the verification. The proposed mechanism for examining the normalization of relationships with each economic sector can be described as follows: the verification authority receives quarterly feedback from prominent governmental and non-governmental actors in each sector based on the dimensions introduced. Then based on those feedbacks, the verification authority will recommend whether to comply with the commitments or to reduce, suspend or cease Iran's actions as countermeasures. In fact, the verification authority should report to the main decision-making organization about the JCPOA (which is currently the Supreme National Security Council and the Iranian Supervisory Committee on JCPOA).

According to paragraph 36 of the JCPOA, Iran has the right to reconsider compliance to its commitments based on the domestic approved arrangements in the case of a violation of the JCPOA by other participants. However, taking these countermeasures does not prevent Iran from sending verification reports to the Joint Commission of the JCPOA as an international organization to convince foreign participants.
 

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