On Saturday, coinciding with the end of UN sanctions, the US lifted sanctions against Iran, swapped Iranian felons for American hostages, and welcomed Iran into the elite club of nuclear powers. No, Iran is not technically a nuclear power yet –it will be in a matter of months. And the over $100 billion in assets freed by sanctions relief will help immensely.
It was reported that
. . . Iranian banks, including the Central Bank . . . have returned to the international financial system, and once again can do business with the United States or move dollars around the world. Already on Sunday, the Central Bank announced that it had reconnected to the international SWIFT wire transfer network, from which it had been banned under sanctions.
. . . Iran is now free to move the $100 billion or so released from blocking orders in Japan, South Korea, India, China, and Turkey, and move it anywhere it pleases, including to terrorist networks. It can also use the money to buy weapons, ballistic missile parts, or nuclear-related equipment, as long as they don’t originate in the United States.
Foreign editor at ABC Jon Williams says the US “offered clemency” to seven Iranians . . . and lifted fourteen Interpol “red notices” as part of the Iran deal. A red notice is an international alert used by police to communicate information about crimes, criminals and threats, to their colleagues elsewhere. It could be described as an international arrest warrant.
The Wall Street Journal reports that among the seven Iranians given clemency is one who pled guilty to a cyberattack against a US defense contractor. The U.S. also dropped extradition proceedings against the CEO of Iran’s state-owned airline, who is accused of helping smuggle weapons to the Syrian government.
The Obama administration had briefly threatened to impose new sanctions on Iran following Iran’s recent ballistic missile tests. But the new sanctions plan was delayed almost immediately, when Iran’s foreign minister warned that it would derail negotiations for the release of the American hostages.