Tehran stands to gain access to nearly $50 billion if the Obama administration decides to free up $12 billion of frozen Iranian assets in the US, inevitably followed by Europe’s release of another $35 billion. The White House was reported Friday, Oct. 18 to be weighing a proposal to offer Iran access to these funds “in installments” against “steps to cut down on its nuclear program.”
DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources: This plan offers Barack Obama a way to ease sanctions on Iran, while avoiding political and diplomatic fallout in Congress and from Jerusalem that would result from an attempt to get the sanctions legislation repealed or amended.
US lawmakers and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu continue to call for harsher measures against Iran, after the Geneva conference last week failed to achieve any breakthrough in the controversy on Iran’s nuclear program.
Although its delegation avoided any pledge to suspend uranium enrichment and offered no plan to dismantle its enrichment facilities, US officials complimented the Iranian position as “more candid and substantive” than in previous diplomatic encounters.
Indeed, according to our sources, the Iranian delegation advised the six world powers on the opposite side of the table to simply accept Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s fatwa as an ironclad pledge of the Islamic Republic’s commitment to refrain from developing a nuclear weapon and continue to pursue a peaceful program.
As for a substantial proposal to cut back on their nuclear operations, the Iranian negotiators said firmly: Sanctions relief first; concessions only at the end of the road.