US should not continue to insist on sanctions against Iran

May 24, 2012

Global Post on May 24, 2012 released the following:

“Mansour Salsabili

Editor’s note: The writer, Mansour Salsabili, is on leave from Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A senior political expert, he is a research fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He participated in a number of efforts ranging from UN reforms to the Non-Aligned Movement. The views expressed are entirely his own.

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts — Continuing to insist on sanctions against Iran will produce a bad deal for America.

Why? Because this week Iran is putting on the table in Baghdad a number of concrete and tension-reducing offers in response to the earlier requests of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

These offers will have the strong support of Russia and China, and may attract positive votes from other European delegations as well. This will leave the US administration, which cannot force Congress to end sanctions, in the corner and in a passive position in any future talks.

In the second round of the current negotiation — between Iran and the five members of the UN Security Council plus Germany — any forward looking plan will need to be comprehensive, including all aspects of a final deal. However a comprehensive approach cannot be implemented in a single shot or in haste, but rather in a step-by-step process that produces concrete results for each step in turn. The final deal may commence from particular unresolved issues involving the Iranian nuclear program and then extend to more general questions of regional cooperation and even peace in the Middle East.

The success of the April 14 meeting in Istanbul between the six world powers and Iran was based on acceptance of the Non-Proliferation Treaty as a basic framework for the negotiation. The crucial point in this agreement is how to manage technical assurances to secure nonproliferation, without constraining Iran’s inalienable right to peaceful use of nuclear energy. This is possible only through mutual confidence building — something that was left in disarray in past efforts at negotiation.

The first way to secure mutual confidence is to avert confrontation to focus on collaboration: Cooperative and not confrontational behavior is needed to prepare a constructive, sustainable and encouraging environment. It is counter-productive to prejudge Iran as a proliferator and expect Tehran to cooperate. No one should expect Iran to sacrifice its sovereignty and its right to enrichment for peaceful nuclear uses in response to unsubstantiated allegations.

Here the vital task is clarifying and resolving in this case the inherent tension between the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s prohibition on proliferation and provision of the right to nuclear energy. This is not an easy job.

Concrete proposals need to be reciprocated to make progress not only possible, but also sustainable and irreversible. For this reason, the parties should address the issues that are most readily resolved first. A simultaneous swap of Iran’s stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium for a similar amount of fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor could come first, to reduce any concern about proliferation and to increase mutual confidence.

In exchange, new sanctions on Iran’s oil industry and Central Bank must be eased, or at least postponed, until the next round of negotiation to pave the way for the realization of future steps.

Clearing up questions about past Iranian nuclear activity is the most difficult issue at hand. Its resolution requires a lot of trust on both sides. Confidence building through transparency and supervision by the International Atomic Energy Agency should go along with respect for confidentiality.

This subject is particularly sensitive in Iran because of incidents such as the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists during the past few years. Issues involving dual use technology are open to different interpretations, and must be treated as highly confidential. Resolution of these issues should come later in the process, as confidence increases.

In the meantime, fact-finding missions could continue to take place along the way as a step to verify that no previous military nuclear capability or undeclared facility in Iran now exists. To avoid prolonging such missions, let’s recall that other nuclear cases, such as Sweden’s, resolved with expanded additional protocol to secure the future rather than dig into the past.

”Every weapon is strongest before shooting,” is an old truism. Sanctions as the silver bullet of the West against Iran have already been fired and now it is time to compromise. Iran will adapt its economy and find its way around sanctions to gain access to the international community.

The passive US reaction to the current negotiations would result in a more polarized world and a loss to the United States and other struggling western economies as well.”

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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US Senate Passes New Iran Sanctions Bill

May 22, 2012

The Wall Street Journal on May 22, 2012 released the following:

“By Samuel Rubenfeld

The U.S. Senate passed on Monday night — by voice vote — new sanctions on Iran ahead of diplomatic talks about Tehran’s nuclear program.

The legislation, which was blocked last Thursday by Republicans seeking minor language tweaks despite overwhelming support, sailed through Monday on the voice vote after doing the same in committee. The bill, among other things, imposes sanctions on the parent companies of foreign subsidiaries violating sanctions. It also requires the disclosure of all sanctionable activity to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Lawmakers have been on the offensive to punish Iran for its nuclear program, which Tehran says is peaceful.

“Iran’s Supreme Leader has a choice: Either come to Baghdad with a real plan to terminate Iran’s nuclear program or we’ll make our own plan – through sanctions or other necessary measures — to ensure that Iran fails to achieve its nuclear ambitions,” said Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) in a statement.

The Senate-passed legislation still has to be reconciled with a House bill before it reaches President Barack Obama’s desk. It comes on top of sanctions legislation signed into law last year that targets anyone doing business with Iran’s central bank, which routes most of its oil transactions.

Those sanctions were implemented in early February via executive order, and a guidance and a rule were issued by the Treasury Department later that month. In April, the White House announced a new program that makes it easier to go after Iran sanctions evaders.

The bill passed Monday night broadens the list of available programs under which sanctions can be imposed on Iranian individuals and entities.

It also requires the U.S. to determine whether the National Iranian Oil Co. and National Iranian Tanker Co. are agencies of the country’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, and then impose sanctions on anyone facilitating sanctions for either entity.”

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

Free Skype Tel: +1.202.470.3427, OR

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Obama Authorizes Sanctions on Members of Yemen Government

May 18, 2012

National Journal on May 16, 2012 released the following:

“By Sara Sorcher

President Obama on Wednesday authorized sanctions on certain members of the government of Yemen and others whom the United States deems might pose a threat to Yemen’s peace, security, and stability.

As Yemen transitions to a democratically elected government, such threats would constitute an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States,” Obama said in an executive order. The order allows the Treasury Department to freeze the U.S.-based assets of anyone found to “obstruct” the transition—and prevents U.S. citizens from doing business with them.

After months of turmoil in the country, Yemeni leader Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped aside after three decades in power, clearing the way in February for his vice president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, to take over and begin the transition to democracy. A number of Saleh’s relatives and supporters were reluctant to give up their high-level positions within the military and government until they were forced to resign. Obama’s order is meant to keep them from further interfering in the political transition.

“The president took this step because he believes that the legitimate aspirations of the Yemeni people, along with the urgent humanitarian and security challenges, cannot be addressed if political progress stalls,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.

The order–issued just after officials disrupted an attempt by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula to take down an airliner bound for the U.S.—is meant to ensure that the unrest in Yemen doesn’t undermine counterterrorism goals in the country, according to the The Washington Post. U.S. drone strikes have continued during the unrest, as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula took advantage of the political turmoil and began to make territorial gains in the country’s restive south.”

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

————————————————————–

International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

Free Skype Tel: +1.202.470.3427, OR

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Obama announces sanctions for tech used in human rights abuses in Iran and Syria

April 23, 2012

Washington Post on April 23, 2012 released the following:

“President Obama issued an executive order Monday that allows U.S. officials for the first time to impose sanctions against foreign nationals found to have used new technologies, including cellphone tracking and Internet monitoring, to help carry out grave human rights abuses.

Social media and cellphone technology have been widely credited with helping democracy advocates organize against autocratic governments and better expose rights violations, most notably over the past year and a half in the Middle East and North Africa.

But authoritarian governments, particularly in Syria and Iran, have shown that their security services can also harness technology to help crack down on dissent — by conducting surveillance, blocking access to the Internet or tracking the movements of opposition figures.

Obama’s executive order, which he announced during a Monday speech at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, is an acknowledgment of those dangers and of the need to adapt American national security policy to a world being remade rapidly by technology, according to senior administration officials familiar with the plans. Although the order is designed to target companies and individuals assisting the governments of Iran and Syria, they said, future executive orders could name others aiding other countries through technology in crackdowns on dissent.

Under the order, the administration announced new sanctions, including a U.S. visa ban and financial restrictions, against a range of Syrian and Iranian agencies and individuals.

In Syria, the sanctions target the Syrian General Intelligence Directorate, the Syriatel phone company and Ali Mamluk, the director of Syria’s general intelligence services. In Iran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security, the Law Enforcement Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Datak Telecom will be subject to the new sanctions.

Speaking in solemn tones, Obama described the challenges of fulfilling the “never again” pledge in the 21st century, telling the audience, “We must tell our children about a crime unique in human history: the one and only Holocaust. … We must tell them how they died, but also how they lived.”

But, he added, “remembrance without action changes nothing.”

“In that sense, ‘never again’ is a challenge to us all,” he said.

Obama’s speech at the most visible U.S. symbol of Holocaust remembrance comes at a time when his policy toward Syria, where a government crackdown has killed thousands of civilians, is under sharp criticism from his Republican rivals for the presidency.

To demonstrate the priority he places on genocide prevention, Obama used the roughly 20-minute address to reveal that he has asked for the first-ever National Intelligence Estimate — the consensus view of all U.S. intelligence agencies — appraising the potential for mass killings in countries around the world and their implication for U.S. interests.

The president also announced a set of U.S. development “challenge” grants designed to encourage technology companies to develop new ways to help residents in countries vulnerable to mass killings better detect and quickly alert others to impending dangers. And he will unveil a high-level government panel to serve as a clearinghouse for real-time intelligence, policymaking and other issues related to mass killing.

“This unprecedented direction from the president, and the development of a comprehensive strategy, sends a clear message that we are committed to combating atrocities, an old threat that regularly takes grim and modern new forms,” said Samantha Power, the National Security Council’s senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights, who will serve as chairman of the Atrocities Prevention Board. The panel’s creation was announced in August.

Last year, Obama cited an imminent threat to Libya’s civilians to explain his decision to intervene militarily against longtime leader Moammar Gaddafi.

“To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and ­— more profoundly — our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are,” he said at the time.

In October, Obama dispatched 100 U.S. troops to Uganda and its neighbors to help the region’s governments hunt down Joseph Kony, the fanatical head of the Lord’s Resistance Army, notorious for its campaign of civilian slaughter and child kidnapping.

But Republicans and some human rights advocates have derided Obama’s policy in Syria as weak and pressed him to do more to stop the killings there.

Last week, echoing Obama’s own remarks on Libya delivered a year earlier, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said that “for the United States to sit by and watch this wanton massacre is a betrayal of everything that we stand for and believe in.”

Obama has called for the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and imposed a set of economic sanctions against his government. But Assad has ignored international pressure and kept up a brutal crackdown that human rights groups estimate has killed more than 11,000 people.

In some cases, Syrian security forces are using technology to track down the opposition movement’s leaders. Syrian officials may also have tracked satellite phones and computer addresses to locate a group of foreign journalists in February who were covering the siege of the city of Homs.

Two journalists were killed in an attack on a building where they were seeking shelter from government bombardment, among them Marie Colvin, an American working for the Sunday Times of London.

In his new executive order, Obama states that “the same GPS, satellite communications, mobile phone, and Internet technology employed by democracy activists across the Middle East and North Africa is being used against them by the regimes in Syria and Iran.”

The new steps are designed primarily to target companies explicitly aiding authoritarian governments with new technology that assists in civilian repression.

But senior administration officials say the measures should prompt all companies to think harder about how the technology they are providing to other countries might be employed and to take steps to ensure that it is not used in harmful ways.

“These technologies should be in place to empower citizens, not oppress them,” Obama said.

Obama’s visit to the memorial followed by a few days the official Holocaust Remembrance Day, and he used the first part of his speech to discuss the mass killing of Jews in Europe.

He recalled his visit to Buchenwald in June 2009, touring the former Nazi concentration camp on a still afternoon with Nobel Peace laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel. Wiesel also accompanied him Monday at the museum, and in his remarks, Obama thanked him and all Holocaust survivors for “not giving up.”

“If you can believe,” he said, “then we can believe.”

Obama used the second part of his remarks to discuss the legacy of Rwanda and his efforts in Libya, Sudan and central Africa, Ivory Coast and other places where mass killings or the threat of them have drawn U.S. attention.

The new Atrocities Prevention Board is intended to elevate the issue further in his administration, officials say. It will comprise senior representatives from across the administration with the goal of helping “the U.S. government identify and address atrocity threats and oversee institutional changes that will make us more nimble and effective.”

The board will hold its first session Monday afternoon and plans to meet with as many as 200 representatives of the nongovernmental organizations, university chapters of anti-genocide groups and others involved in the issue.

“This is not an afterthought, this is not a sidelight of our foreign policy,” Obama said.“We’re going to institutionalize the focus on this issue.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


US levies new sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank

February 6, 2012

The Associated Press on February 6, 2012 released the following:

“By JULIE PACE
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has ordered new sanctions on the Islamic republic, including its Central Bank, in a move to enforce a law he signed in December.

In a letter to Congress Monday, Obama said the tougher sanctions are warranted “particularly in light of the deceptive practices of the Central Bank of Iran and other Iranian banks.” He said the problems included the hiding transactions of sanctioned parties, the deficiencies of Iran’s anti-money laundering regime and the unacceptably high risk posed to the entire international financial system posed by Iran’s activities.

The Central Bank sanctions were included as an amendment in the wide-ranging defense bill Obama signed into law at the end of 2011. The White House said Obama signed the executive order approving the sanctions on Sunday, well ahead of the six-month window he was afforded in the defense bill.

Obama’s fresh swipe at Tehran come as the White House tries to both ratchet up pressure on the Islamic republic to abandon its nuclear program and dissuade Israel from launching a unilateral strike on Iran, a move that could roil the Middle East and jolt the global economy.

Obama said Sunday he does not believe Israel has yet decided whether to attack Iran and still believes a diplomatic solution is possible.

Iran insists that its nuclear pursuit is for peaceful purposes, but the West accuses Iran of developing the know-how to build a nuclear bomb. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta last week would not dispute a report that he believes Israel may attack Iran this spring in an attempt to set back the Islamic republic’s nuclear program.

A Treasury Department statement said the sanctions underscore that the administration is determined to hold Iran accountable for meeting international obligations over its nuclear program. The statement said Iran should get the message that “it will face ever-increasing economic and diplomatic pressure” until it answers the world’s well-founded concerns about its nuclear intentions.

The department also said foreign financial institutions engaged in “arms-length transactions” with the Central Bank would not be impacted by the sanctions that Obama ordered Sunday, but remain at risk of such penalties if they undertake significant transactions with the bank or other Iranian financial institutions.

The sanctions amendment in the defense bill compelled U.S. punishment of foreign financial institutions that conduct transactions through Iran’s Central Bank in order to import petroleum. Several U.S. allies in Europe and Asia engage in such business with Iran.

The administration expressed concern at the time that the sanctions could lead to a spike in global oil prices, hampering the American economic recovery and perhaps perversely enabling Iran to reap even greater revenues from its oil exports. That would defeat the purpose of the bill, which is to hamper Tehran’s alleged support for international terrorism and its ability to fund its nuclear enrichment program.

Under the law, Obama had the option of waiving penalties for national security reasons.

The White House sees sanctions as an effective method of increasing pressure on Iran and officials say the penalties have started to squeeze Iran’s economy.

In recent weeks, both the U.S. and European Union have imposed harsher sanctions on Iran’s oil sector, the lifeblood of its economy.

In Washington, the Senate Banking Committee also easily approved yet more penalties on Tehran last week. The sweeping measure, which is not yet law, would target Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, require companies that trade on the U.S. stock exchanges to disclose any Iran-related business to the Securities and Exchange Commission, and expand penalties for energy and uranium mining joint ventures with Tehran.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.