July 1, 2013
For immediate release:
negotiating Iran sanction waiver
Monday, July 1, 2013
Media contact: Kenneth R. Timmerman
President & CEO
Foundation for Democracy in Iran
this statement as a PDF file
Rockville, MD – July 1, 2013) - As the U.S. Senate was engrossed in the
immigration debate last week and the House was preparing for the 4th of
July recess, the State Department quietly negotiated a deal with the
Islamic Republic of Iran to establish direct flights between Tehran and
New York, FDI has learned.
The deal involves a government to government Memorandum of
Understanding (MoU), and flights between the two countries operated by
Iran Air, which is on the Treasury Department’s list of Specially
Designated Nationals and banned from all commerce with U.S. persons
because of its involvement in terrorism and the proliferation of
weapons of mass destruction.
So far, the State Department has not announced any MoU with the Islamic
Republic of Iran, which would require the U.S. government to issue
substantial waivers of multiple U.S. sanctions laws and would surely
anger Members of Congress who worked hard to tighten the economic noose
around the neck of Tehran’s leaders.
It is unclear how the Treasury Department could issue a license to Iran
Air without opening the entire designation process to a multitude of
“Waiving sanctions on Iran Air so it can operate direct flights to the
United States would jeopardize most of the sanctions legislation
currently on the books, and would expose the Treasury Department’s
designation process to charges of being arbitrary and political,” said
FDI President and CEO, Kenneth R. Timmerman.
In a special advisory delivered this morning, FDI urged the appropriate
committee chairmen and ranking members in Congress to immediately
clarify with the State Department whether they have indeed negotiated
an MoU with Iran, as the Iranian Foreign Minister announced last week
(see attached news article, below); and if so, to withhold funds from
the State Department for the implementation of this MoU or further
“Beyond this, Congress should conduct an investigation and ultimately
public hearings to determine how this MoU was negotiated, what
officials were involved in the negotiations, and who ordered them to
usurp the authority of Congress to regulate international trade,”
It is FDI’s belief that such an MoU violates both the letter and the
intent of multiple Iran sanctions laws. In addition, it would require
an executive branch waiver of the Iran Trade Regulations, which must be
duly notified to Congress. To our knowledge, the administration has not
made such a notification as of yet.
“The Obama administration has displayed an abundance of naïve
enthusiasm for the newly selected ‘president’ of the Islamic Republic
and his alleged ‘moderation,’” Timmerman added.
“Before making unilateral concessions such as this MoU, the
administration would do better to examine mullah Hassan Rowhani’s track
record as a 30-year veteran of the Islamic Republic’s inner
decision-making circle, where he has promoted Iran’s clandestine
nuclear weapons program and dipped his hand in the blood of the Iranian
people during the 1999 uprising. Watch what he does, not what he says.”
IRAN PRESS TV
welcomes direct Iran-US flights: Salehi
Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:38PM GMT
Iran Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi says the Islamic Republic
welcomes the establishment of direct flights between Iranian and US
cities after more than three decades.
“We welcome direct flights between Iran and the United States, and have
no problem with it,” Salehi told IRNA on Wednesday.
“Launching direct flights is for the sake of public welfare, and we
have no problem with this issue.”
On Tuesday, Mehr News Agency reported that necessary preparations were
made to sign a memorandum of understanding regarding the establishment
of direct flights between Iran and the United States.
According to the report, Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines and the national
Iranian flag carrier, Iran Air, are expected to transport passengers
between Iran and the United States.