United States Institute of Peace

The Iran Primer

Secretary Kerry on Implementation Day

On January 16, Secretary of State John Kerry welcomed the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal and Tehran’s release of American prisoners as part of a swap. “Today marks the moment that the Iran nuclear agreement transitions from an ambitious set of promises on paper to measurable action in progress,” he said shortly after Implementation Day was announced in Vienna, Austria, by E.U. Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Implementation Day was triggered by the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s certification that Iran has fulfilled its obligations under the nuclear agreement. As a result, Iran is to receive relief from nuclear-related U.S., E.U. and U.N. sanctions. The following is an excerpt from Kerry’s remarks.
 
This evening, we are really reminded once again of diplomacy’s power to tackle significant challenges. And thanks to years of hard work and committed dialogue, we have made vital breakthroughs related to both the nuclear negotiation and a separate long-term diplomatic effort. I’m very happy to say that as we speak, we have received confirmation that five Americans who had been unjustly detained in Iran have been released from custody. And they should be on their way home to their families before long – shortly.
 
The President will have more to say about their release later. But I can tell you one thing: While the two tracks of negotiations were not directly related – and they were not – there is no question that the pace and the progress of the humanitarian talks accelerated in light of the relationships forged and the diplomatic channels unlocked over the course of the nuclear talks. And certainly in the time since we reached an agreement last July, there was a significant pickup in that dialogue.
 
We have also reached a critical and auspicious milestone on the nuclear issue as well. Today, more than four years after I first traveled to Oman at the request of President Obama to discreetly explore whether the kind of nuclear talks that we ultimately entered into with Iran were even possible, after more than two and a half years of intense multilateral negotiations, the International Atomic Energy Agency has now verified that Iran has honored its commitments to alter – and in fact, dismantle – much of its nuclear program in compliance with the agreement that we reached last July.
 
I want to thank the IAEA and Director Amano for their significant efforts in this regard, and I know that he will go tomorrow to Tehran to begin the process of the full implementation.
To get to this point, ladies and gentlemen, Iran has undertaken significant steps that many – and I do mean many – people doubted would ever come to pass. And that should be recognized, even though the full measure of this achievement can only be realized by assuring continued full compliance in the coming years. In return for the steps that Iran has taken, the United States and the EU will immediately lift nuclear-related sanctions, expanding the horizon of opportunity for the Iranian people. And I have even tonight, before coming over here, signed a number of documents over those sanctions that the State Department has jurisdiction over in order to effect that lifting.
 
In the words of the agreement itself, today – January 16th, 2016 – we have reached implementation day. Today marks the moment that the Iran nuclear agreement transitions from an ambitious set of promises on paper to measurable action in progress. Today, as a result of the actions taken since last July, the United States, our friends and allies in the Middle East, and the entire world are safer because the threat of a nuclear weapon has been reduced. Today we can confidently say that each of the pathways that Iran had toward enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon has been verifiably closed down.
 
That begins with the uranium path. Before the negotiations began, Iran was adding rapidly and without constraint to its stockpile of enriched uranium. As it committed to do back in July, Iran has now reduced that stockpile to less than 300 kilograms, sending the rest of it out on a ship which has gone to Russia to be processed there. That means that their current level of enriched uranium is 2 percent of what it was before we completed the agreement, and the rest is shipped out of the country.
 
Iran has also removed a full two thirds of its centrifuges from nuclear facilities, along with the infrastructure that supported them. They’ve literally taken it out, dismantled, stored. That includes nearly all of its advanced centrifuges. And the removed hardware is sealed up under around-the-clock monitoring by the IAEA. Iran has now ended all uranium enrichment at its Fordow facility, disconnected all related centrifuges, and removed all fissile material from the site.
The second path open to Iran was the plutonium path. Before we sat down at the negotiating table, Iran’s heavy water reactor at Arak had the potential – when and if it became operational – to produce enough weapons-grade plutonium annually to fuel two nuclear weapons. Iran has now begun the process of modifying the entire Arak reactor so that it will only be used for peaceful purposes. It has removed the reactor’s core and filled it with cement, ensuring that it can be never used again.
 
Finally, the third path – the most troubling path, in many respects – was the potential for Iran to pursue enough fissile material for a weapon covertly, using a facility not publicly declared. Now, before the talks started the IAEA did not have assured access to investigate locations at which undeclared nuclear activities might be carried out. It also lacked the ability to track uranium as it was mined, milled, and then turned into yellowcake. Today, the IAEA has put in place every one of the extensive transparency and verification measures called for in the agreement. That means in addition to the 24/7 monitoring of all of Iran’s declared facilities, the IAEA now has visibility and accountability of the entire supply chain that supports Iran’s nuclear program, from start to finish – from uranium mines and mills to centrifuge manufacturing and operation.
 
So today, Iran would need far more than one covert facility in order to try to break out. It would need to develop an entire covert supply chain, from start to finish – which experts around the world agree is not possible without early detection.
 
As I said, the steps that Iran has taken to fully implement the nuclear agreement have fundamentally altered the country’s nuclear program. Two years ago we assessed that Iran’s breakout time, the amount of time it took to go from producing fissile – enriched uranium to have enough for one bomb – that amount of time has gone from two to three months, where it was; now, today we are confident that – based on the reductions in its stockpile, reductions in its centrifuges – it would take Iran at least a year to try to break out of the agreement, kick out the inspectors, accumulate the amount of fissile material needed for a single bomb.
 
And if Iran ever did decide to do that, because of the steps that are in this agreement, we would know it almost immediately, and we would have enough time to respond accordingly.
Let me underscore: Verification remains, as it always has been, the backbone of this agreement. We welcome that Iran has followed through on the promises that it made. It has kept its word. And we will continue to do the same. But we will also remain vigilant in verifying Iran’s compliance every hour of every day in the years ahead.
 
Now, I emphasize: Today’s announcement gives us even more hope, more confidence in the possibilities about this effort going forward. Thus far, Iran has taken every step that it committed to take, dating back two full years – not just back to July, but dating back to the interim agreement that we announced in Geneva, in Switzerland. And we have now two years of compliance already under our belt with another 13, and then another 15, and then another 20, and another 25, and then the lifetime of this agreement under the Additional Protocol and the Modified Code 3.1.
 
Now, obviously past performance does not guarantee future results. We know that. Furthermore, while we welcome implementation day, we understand that this marker alone does not wipe away all of the concerns that the international community has rightly expressed about Iran’s policies and actions and choices in the region. But we also know without doubt there is not a challenge in the entire region that wouldn’t become much more complicated, much worse, if Iran had a nuclear weapon. And that is why this agreement is so important. With the agreement fully implemented, the international community can finally work to address the other regional challenges without the looming threat of a nuclear-armed Iran – including the crisis in Syria, on which we have made important progress in recent months.
 
Before I close, I want to thank a few important people who brought us here to this day, who have been critical to this process throughout the negotiations. And that starts with the person I work for, President Obama, who has been resolute in insisting that Iran must never have a nuclear weapon, and equally strong and courageous in asserting that diplomacy should be given a fair chance to achieve that goal. His courage to pursue a path that many people deemed impossible and some people deemed inadvisable is the reason we are where we are, marking implementation day – not alone, not bilaterally, but with France, Germany, Britain, China, Russia, all of us joined together in an effort to create this accountability.
 
I also want to thank the delegations representing all of our P5 partners. All of them have worked unbelievably hard and have set a standard for international cooperation, and I particularly want to thank Dame Cathy Ashton for helping to lead this process for two and a half years, and her successor, Federica Mogherini, for expertly coordinating international efforts during the final stage and helping in these last two days to bring us to this announcement.
 
I also want to express my gratitude for the superb efforts of my own delegation, led by Steve Mull and previously by Wendy Sherman, all of whom from the State Department, from the White House, and throughout the interagency system that we work with in the United States, all of them – the Justice Department, the Energy Department, Ernie Moniz and others have done an extraordinary job and they richly deserve the gratitude of our nation, and I believe other nations who benefit from this.
 
Let me also thank the government of Austria, Switzerland, and Oman for their continued and enormously generous hospitality at times, for their assistance all the time, and for the international work that they have helped to make possible here. And I’m particularly grateful to the Government of Switzerland, to Didier Burkhalter and all those who have worked in the last days as our representative in Tehran in helping us with the mission regarding the release of the Americans, which you will hear more about from President Obama later.
 
Finally, I want to again express my deep respect for the serious and constructive approach that Iran’s delegation brought to this effort. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and his team from day one demonstrated their deep commitment and seriousness of purpose, and Dr. Ali Salehi has worked diligently with Secretary Moniz to find creative solutions to difficult technical challenges. And we’ve been able to approach every step of this process with professionalism and mutual respect.
 
The hard work will continue, no question. And the tough politics surrounding this issue in many countries, including the United States and Iran – that’s obviously not going to get easier overnight. But the fact is that today marks the first day of a safer world, one where we believe it is possible to remain safer for years to come, and particularly with the compliance of this agreement.
 
I think we have also proven once again why diplomacy has to always be our first choice, and war our last resort. And that is a very important lesson to reinforce. We have approached this challenge that the – with the firm belief that exhausting diplomacy before choosing war is an imperative. And we believe that today marks the benefits of that choice.
 
Thank you.
 
Photo credit: U.S. State Department via Flickr
 

  

Mogherini, Zarif Joint Statement on Implementation Day

On January 16, E.U. foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced the start of implementation of the nuclear deal. Implementation Day was triggered by the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s certification that Iran has fulfilled its obligations under the nuclear agreement. As a result, Iran is to receive relief from nuclear-related U.S., E.U. and U.N. sanctions. The following is the full text of the joint statement by Mogherini and Zarif.
 
Joint statement by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif
 
Today, we have reached Implementation Day of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Ever since Adoption Day, we worked hard and showed mutual commitment and collective will to finally bring the JCPOA to implementation. Today, six months after finalisation of the historic deal, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has verified that Iran has implemented its nuclear related commitments under the JCPOA.
 
As Iran has fulfilled its commitments, today, multilateral and national economic and financial sanctions related to Iran's nuclear programme are lifted in accordance with the JCPOA. The EU and E3+3 countries, consisting of the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of France, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America, and Iran will also cooperate in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear energy, in the framework of the JCPOA.
 
UN sanctions related to Iran's nuclear programme are lifted. United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015), which endorsed the JCPOA, will from now onwards, together with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), be the sole international legal framework related to Iran's nuclear activities, terminating provisions of resolutions 1696 (2006), 1737 (2007), 1747 (2007), 1803 (2008), 1835 (2008), 1929 (2010) and 2224 (2015).
 
The EU has confirmed that the legal framework providing for the lifting of its nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions is effective. The United States today is ceasing the application of its nuclear-related statutory sanctions on Iran, including terminating relevant Executive Orders and licensing of certain activities, as specified in the JCPOA. The EU and the United States have issued relevant guidelines on the details of sanctions which have been lifted thus facilitating international engagement in Iran’s economic development. As foreseen, we will continue to thoroughly monitor and oversee the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA, exactly as agreed on 14 July 2015, through the Joint Commission, consisting of the E3+3 and Iran, and coordinated by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. On its side, the IAEA is entrusted with the responsibility for the monitoring and verification of the JCPOA as well as of Iran's obligations as a Party to Non-Proliferation Treaty and its safeguards agreement and the provisional application of its Additional Protocol.
 
We would like to use this opportunity to thank the Austrian Government for their hospitality and all those countries that supported the negotiation process and helped to implement some of the commitments under the JCPOA. We also wish to express our appreciation to all those who led these negotiations on behalf of Islamic Republic of Iran and E3/EU+3 since 2003. All sides remain firmly convinced that this historic deal is both strong and fair, and that it meets the requirements of all; its proper implementation will be a key contribution to improved regional and international peace, stability and security.
 
This achievement clearly demonstrates that with political will, perseverance, and through multilateral diplomacy, we can solve the most difficult issues and find practical solutions that are effectively implemented. This is an encouraging and strong message that the international community must keep in mind in our efforts to make the world a safer place.

  

Implementation Day: Obama Lifts Sanctions

On January 16, President Obama issued an executive order lifting sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program. Implementation Day was triggered by the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s certification that Iran has fulfilled its obligations under the nuclear agreement. As a result, Iran is to receive relief from nuclear-related U.S., E.U. and U.N. sanctions. U.S. sanctions on Iran for support for terrorism, human rights abuses, and missile activities, however, will remain in effect. The following is the full text of Obama’s executive order and letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate.

 
EXECUTIVE ORDER
- - - - - - -
REVOCATION OF EXECUTIVE ORDERS 13574, 13590, 13622, AND 13645 WITH RESPECT TO IRAN, AMENDMENT OF EXECUTIVE ORDER 13628 WITH RESPECT TO IRAN, AND PROVISION OF IMPLEMENTATION AUTHORITIES FOR ASPECTS OF CERTAIN STATUTORY SANCTIONS OUTSIDE THE SCOPE OF U.S. COMMITMENTS UNDER THE JOINT COMPREHENSIVE PLAN OF ACTION OF JULY 14, 2015
 
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) (NEA), the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-172) (50 U.S.C. 1701 note), the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-195) (22 U.S.C. 8501 et seq.), the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-158), the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 (subtitle D of title XII of Public Law 112-239) (22 U.S.C. 8801 et seq.) (IFCA), section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (8 U.S.C. 1182(f)), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,
 
I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, have determined that Iran's implementation of the nuclear-related measures specified in sections 15.1-15.11 of Annex V of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action of July 14, 2015 (JCPOA) between the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States), the European Union, and Iran, as verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency, marks a fundamental shift in circumstances with respect to Iran's nuclear program. In order to give effect to the United States commitments with respect to sanctions described in section 4 of Annex II and section 17.4 of Annex V of the JCPOA, I am revoking Executive Orders 13574 of May 23, 2011, 13590 of November 20, 2011, 13622 of July 30, 2012, and 13645 of June 3, 2013, and amending Executive Order 13628 of October 9, 2012, by revoking sections 5 through 7 and section 15. In addition, in section 3 of this order, I am taking steps with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 12957 of March 15, 1995, to provide implementation authorities for aspects of certain statutory sanctions that are outside the scope of the U.S. commitment to lift nuclear-related sanctions under the JCPOA.
 
This action is not intended to, and does not, limit the applicability of waiver determinations or any renewals thereof issued by the Secretary of State, or licenses issued by the Secretary of the Treasury, to give effect to sanctions commitments described in sections 17.1-17.3 and 17.5 of Annex V of the JCPOA, or otherwise affect the national emergency declared in Executive Order 12957, which shall remain in place, or any Executive Order issued in furtherance of that national emergency other than Executive Orders 13574, 13590, 13622, 13628, and 13645.
 
I hereby order:
 
Section 1. Revocation of Executive Orders. The following Executive Orders are revoked:
 
(a) Executive Order 13574 of May 23, 2011 (Authorizing the Implementation of Certain Sanctions Set Forth in the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, as Amended);
 
(b) Executive Order 13590 of November 20, 2011 (Authorizing the Imposition of Certain Sanctions With Respect to the Provision of Goods, Services, Technology, or Support for Iran's Energy and Petrochemical Sectors);
 
(c) Executive Order 13622 of July 30, 2012 (Authorizing Additional Sanctions With Respect to Iran); and
 
(d) Executive Order 13645 of June 3, 2013 (Authorizing the Implementation of Certain Sanctions Set Forth in the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 and Additional Sanctions With Respect To Iran).
 
Sec. 2. Amendment of Executive Order. Executive Order 13628 of October 9, 2012 (Authorizing the Implementation of Certain Sanctions Set Forth in the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 and Additional Sanctions with Respect to Iran), is amended by:
 
(a) Revoking current sections 5 through 7 and 15;
 
(b) Revising current section 4 by removing "section 5 of Executive Order 13622 of July 30, 2012," in subsection (a), replacing "section 12" with "section 9" in subsection (a), and replacing "section 12" with "section 9" in subsection (b);
 
(c) Revising current section 8 by inserting "and" between "2(a)," and "3(a)" and removing ", and 7(a)(iv)";
 
(d) Revising current section 9 by inserting "and" between "2(a)," and "3(a)" and removing ", and 7(a)(iv)";
 
(e) Revising current section 14 by inserting "and" between "2(a)," and "3(a)" and removing ", and 7(a)(iv)";
 
(f) Renumbering current sections 8 through 14 as sections 5 through 11, respectively; and
 
(g) Renumbering current sections 16 through 19 as sections 12 through 15, respectively.
Sec. 3. Provision of Implementation Authorities for Sanctions Outside the Scope of the JCPOA.
 
(a)(i) The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to impose on a person the measures described in subsection (a)(ii) of this section upon determining, pursuant to authority delegated by the President and in accordance with the terms of such delegation, that sanctions shall be imposed on such person pursuant to section 1244(c)(1)(A) of IFCA for knowingly providing significant financial, material, technological, or other support to, or goods or services in support of any activity or transaction on behalf of or for the benefit of persons described in section 1244(c)(2)(C)(iii) of IFCA.
 
(ii) With respect to any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury in accordance with this subsection to meet the criteria set forth in subsection (a)(i) of this section, all property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person (including any foreign branch) of such person are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in.
(iii) The prohibitions in subsection (a)(ii) of this section apply except to the extent provided by statutes, or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the date of this order.
 
(b)(i) When the Secretary of State or the Secretary of the Treasury, pursuant to authority delegated by the President and in accordance with the terms of such delegation, has determined that sanctions shall be imposed on a person pursuant to sections 1244(d)(1)(A), 1245(a)(1), or 1246(a)(1) of IFCA (including in each case as informed by section 1253(c)(2) of IFCA) for engaging in transactions or activities outside the scope of the waiver determinations as to IFCA issued by the Secretary of State to give effect to sanctions commitments described in sections 17.1-17.3 and 17.5 of Annex V of the JCPOA, and any renewals thereof, such Secretary may select one or more of the sanctions set forth below to impose on that person, and the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall take the following actions where necessary to implement the sanctions selected and maintained by the Secretary of State or the Secretary of the Treasury:
 
(A) prohibit any United States financial institution from making loans or providing credits to the sanctioned person totaling more than $10,000,000 in any 12-month period, unless such person is engaged in activities to relieve human suffering and the loans or credits are provided for such activities;
 
(B) prohibit any transactions in foreign exchange that are subject to the jurisdiction of
the United States and in which the sanctioned person has any interest;
 
(C) prohibit any transfers of credit or payments between financial institutions or by, through, or to any financial institution, to the extent that such transfers or payments are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and involve any interest of the sanctioned person;
 
(D) block all property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person (including any foreign branch) of the sanctioned person, and provide that such property and interests in property may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in;
 
(E) prohibit any United States person from investing in or purchasing significant amounts of equity or debt instruments of a sanctioned person;
 
(F) restrict or prohibit imports of goods, technology, or services, directly or indirectly, into the United States from the sanctioned person; or
 
(G) impose on the principal executive officer or officers, or persons performing similar functions and with similar authorities, of a sanctioned person the sanctions described in subsections (b)(i)(A)-(F) of this section, as selected by the Secretary of State or the Secretary of the Treasury, as appropriate.
 
(ii) The prohibitions in subsection (b)(i) of this section apply except to the extent provided by statutes, or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the date of this order.
 
(c)(i) All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person (including any foreign branch) of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in: any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with or at the recommendation of the Secretary of State:
 
(A) to have engaged, on or after January 2, 2013, in corruption or other activities relating to the diversion of goods, including agricultural commodities, food, medicine, and medical devices, intended for the people of Iran;
 
(B) to have engaged, on or after January 2, 2013, in corruption or other activities relating to the misappropriation of proceeds from the sale or resale of goods described in subsection (c)(i)(A) of this section;
 
(C) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, the activities described in subsection (c)(i)(A) or (c)(i)(B) of this section or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to subsection (c)(i) of this section; or
 
(D) to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to subsection (c)(i) of this section.
 
(ii) The prohibitions in subsection (c)(i) of this section apply except to the extent provided by statutes, or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the date of this order.
 
Sec. 4. Donations. I hereby determine that, to the extent section 203(b)(2) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(2)) may apply, the making of donations of the types of articles specified in such section by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order would seriously impair my ability to deal with the national emergency declared in Executive Order 12957, and I hereby prohibit such donations as provided by subsections 3(a)(ii), 3(b)(i)(D), and 3(c)(i) of this order.
 
Sec. 5. Prohibitions. The prohibitions in subsections 3(a)(ii), 3(b)(i)(D), and 3(c)(i) of this order include but are not limited to:
 
(a) the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; and
 
(b) the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.
 
Sec. 6. Entry into the United States. I hereby find that the unrestricted immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens who are determined to meet one or more of the criteria in subsections 3(a)(i) and 3(c)(i) of this order would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend the entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of such persons as of the date of this order. Such persons shall be treated as persons covered by section 1 of Proclamation 8693 of July 24, 2011 (Suspension of Entry of Aliens Subject to United Nations Security Council Travel Bans and International Emergency Economic Powers Act Sanctions).
 
Sec. 7. General Authorities. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this order, other than the purposes described in section 6 of this order. The Secretary of the Treasury may redelegate any of these functions to other officers and agencies of the United States Government consistent with applicable law.
 
Sec. 8. Evasion and Conspiracy. (a) Any transaction that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
 
(b) Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
 
Sec. 9. Definitions. For the purposes of this order:
 
(a) the term "entity" means a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization;
 
(b) the term "financial institution," as used in subsection 3(b) of this order, includes:
 
(i) a depository institution (as defined in section 3(c)(1) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act) (12 U.S.C. 1813(c)(1)), including a branch or agency of a foreign bank (as defined in section 1(b)(7) of the International Banking Act of 1978) (12 U.S.C. 3101(7));
 
(ii) a credit union;
 
(iii) a securities firm, including a broker or dealer;
 
(iv) an insurance company, including an agency or underwriter; and
 
(v) any other company that provides financial services;
 
(c) the term "Government of Iran" includes the Government of Iran, any political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including the Central Bank of Iran, and any person owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, the Government of Iran;
 
(d) the term "Iran" means the Government of Iran and the territory of Iran and any other territory or marine area, including the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, over which the Government of Iran claims sovereignty, sovereign rights, or jurisdiction, provided that the Government of Iran exercises partial or total de facto control over the area or derives a benefit from economic activity in the area pursuant to international arrangements;
(e) the term "person" means an individual or entity;
 
(f) the term "sanctioned person" means a person that the Secretary of State or the Secretary of the Treasury, pursuant to authority delegated by the President and in accordance with the terms of such delegation, has determined is a person on whom sanctions shall be imposed pursuant to section 1244(d)(1)(A), 1245(a)(1), or 1246(a)(1) of IFCA (including in each case as informed by section 1253(c)(2) of IFCA) for engaging in transactions or activities outside the scope of the waiver determinations as to IFCA issued by the Secretary of State to give effect to sanctions commitments described in sections 17.1-17.3 and 17.5 of Annex V of the JCPOA, and any renewals thereof, and on whom the Secretary of State or the Secretary of the Treasury has imposed any of the sanctions in subsection 3(b) of this order;
 
(g) the term "United States financial institution" means a financial institution as defined in subsection (b) of this section (including its foreign branches) organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States or located in the United States; and
(h) the term "United States person" means any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States.
 
Sec. 10. Notice. For those persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order who might have a constitutional presence in the United States, I find that because of the ability to transfer funds or other assets instantaneously, prior notice to such persons of measures to be taken pursuant to this order would render those measures ineffectual. I therefore determine that for these measures to be effective in addressing the national emergency declared in Executive Order 12957, there need be no prior notice of an action taken pursuant to subsection 3(a)(ii), 3(b)(i)(D), or 3(c)(i) of this order.
 
Sec. 11. Direction to Agencies. All agencies of the United States Government are hereby directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of this order.
 
Sec. 12. Rights. This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
 
Sec. 13. Effect on Actions or Proceedings. Pursuant to section 202 of the NEA (50 U.S.C. 1622), the revocation of Executive Orders 13574, 13590, 13622, and 13645 and the amendments to Executive Order 13628 as set forth in sections 1 and 2 of this order, shall not affect any action taken or proceeding pending not finally concluded or determined as of the date of this order, or any action or proceeding based on any act committed prior to the date of this order, or any rights or duties that matured or penalties that were incurred prior to the date of this order.
 
Sec. 14. Relationship to Algiers Accords. The measures taken pursuant to this order are in response to actions of the Government of Iran occurring after the conclusion of the 1981 Algiers Accords, and are intended solely as a response to those later actions.
 
BARACK OBAMA
THE WHITE HOUSE,
January 16, 2016.
 
 
Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)
 
Pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), I hereby report that I have issued an Executive Order (the "order") revoking Executive Orders 13574, 13590, 13622, and 13645 with respect to Iran and amending Executive Order 13628 with respect to Iran in order to give effect to the United States commitments with respect to sanctions described in section 4 of Annex II and section 17.4 of Annex V of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action of July 14, 2015 (JCPOA) between the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States), the European Union (EU), and Iran. In addition, the order takes steps to provide implementation authorities for aspects of certain statutory sanctions that are outside the scope of the U.S. commitments to lift nuclear-related sanctions under the JCPOA.
In Executive Order 12957 of March 15, 1995, the President found that the actions and policies of the Government of Iran threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States. To deal with that threat, the President declared a national emergency and imposed prohibitions on certain transactions with respect to the development of Iranian petroleum resources. To further respond to that threat and to provide implementing authority for Iran-related sanctions legislation -- including the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-172) (50 U.S.C. 1701 note); certain statutory requirements of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-195) (22 U.S.C. 8501 et seq.); section 1245(c) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (Public Law 112-81) (22 U.S.C. 8513a); certain statutory requirements of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-158) (22 U.S.C. 8701 et seq.); and certain statutory requirements of the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 (subtitle D of title XII of Public Law 112-239) (22 U.S.C. 8801 et seq.) (IFCA) -- the President issued Executive Order 12959 of May 6, 1995, Executive Order 13059 of August 19, 1997, Executive Order 13553 of September 28, 2010, Executive Order 13574 of May 23, 2011, Executive Order 13590 of November 20, 2011, Executive Order 13599 of February 5, 2012, Executive Order 13606 of April 22, 2012, Executive Order 13608 of May 1, 2012, Executive Order 13622 of July 30, 2012, Executive Order 13628 of October 9, 2012, and Executive Order 13645 of June 3, 2013.
 
On July 14, 2015, the P5+1, the EU, and Iran announced the JCPOA, which will verifiably prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and ensure that Iran's nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful. The JCPOA provides for the lifting of
 
nuclear-related sanctions on Iran in exchange for Iran's completion of specified nuclear-related steps, as verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
 
I have determined that Iran's implementation of the nuclear-related measures specified in sections 15.1-15.11 of Annex V of the JCPOA, as verified by the IAEA, marks a fundamental shift in circumstances with respect to Iran's nuclear program. In order to give effect to the United States commitments with respect to sanctions described in section 4 of Annex II and section 17.4 of Annex V of the JCPOA, section 1 of the order revokes Executive Orders 13574, 13590, 13622, and 13645 in their entirety. Section 2 of the order amends Executive Order 13628 by revoking sections 5 through 7 and section 15 of that order, revising cross references in the remaining sections of that order to the revoked sections, and renumbering the remaining sections of that order.
 
Section 3(a) of the order provides implementation authority for aspects of section 1244(c)(1)(A) of IFCA; this provision only applies to the extent sanctions are imposed with respect to transactions or activities that are outside the scope of the JCPOA, specifically, providing significant financial, material, technological, or other support to, or goods and services in support of, any activity or transaction on behalf of or for the benefit of persons described in section 1244(c)(2)(C)(iii) of IFCA (i.e., Iranian persons on the list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List)).
 
Section 3(b) of the order provides implementation authority for aspects of sections 1244(d)(1)(A), 1245(a)(1), and 1246(a)(1) of IFCA; this provision only applies to the extent sanctions are imposed with respect to transactions or activities that are outside the scope of the JCPOA, as reflected in waiver determinations as to sections 1244(d)(1)(A), 1245(a)(1), and 1246(a)(1) of IFCA issued by the Secretary of State to give effect to sanctions commitments described in sections 17.1-17.3 and 17.5 of Annex V of the JCPOA (including any transactions or activities involving persons on the SDN List), and any renewals thereof.
Section 3(c) of the order provides implementation authority for section 1249 of IFCA, which is outside the scope of the JCPOA.
 
I have delegated to the Secretary of the Treasury the authority, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA, as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of the order, other than the purposes described in section 6 of the order. All agencies of the United States Government are directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of the order.
 
I am enclosing a copy of the Executive Order I have issued.
 
Sincerely,

BARACK OBAMA 

US Presidential Candidates on Prisoner Swap

Nearly all of the U.S. presidential candidates have reacted to the prisoner swap with Iran. The following are excerpted remarks. Click the name of each candidate to learn more.

Democrats
Republicans

 

Democrats

Hillary Clinton
Former Secretary of State under Obama and former Senator from New York

“I am greatly relieved by the safe return of American prisoners from Iran. Their families and our country have waited and prayed for this day to come.
 
“I also welcome the full implementation of the nuclear agreement, an important achievement of diplomacy backed by pressure. Implementation marks an important step forward in preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Iran has dismantled centrifuges, disabled a reactor, and shipped out almost all of its enriched uranium. These are important steps that make the United States, our allies, and the entire world safer. I congratulate President Obama and his team, and I’m proud of the role I played to get this process started.
 
“But we shouldn’t thank Iran for the prisoners or for following through on its obligations. These prisoners were held unjustly by a regime that continues to threaten the peace and security of the Middle East. Another American, Bob Levinson, still isn’t home with his family. The treatment of our Navy sailors earlier this week was offensive, including the release of a demeaning and provocative video. Iran is still violating UN Security Council resolutions with its ballistic missile program, which should be met with new sanctions designations and firm resolve.
 
“So we can’t take our eye off the ball. As President, my approach will be to distrust and verify. I will vigorously enforce the nuclear deal as part of a comprehensive strategy that confronts all of Iran’s negative actions in the region and stand side-by-side with our ally Israel and our Arab partners.”
—Jan. 16, 2016, in a statement 
 
 
Martin O’Malley
Former Governor of Maryland
 

“Great news on the release of Jason Rezaian and others. Memo to Republican candidates: diplomacy beats carpet bombing.”
—Jan. 16, 2016, in a statement

  

 

 

Bernie Sanders
Senator from Vermont

 
“This good news shows that diplomacy can work even in this volatile region of the world.”
—Jan. 16, 2016, in a statement 
 
 
 
 

 

Republicans

Jeb Bush
Former Governor of Florida
 
“I would say ... if you do not release them, that there's going to be military action, that that's an act of provocation, an act of war. What I would do in January is recognize that Iran is not an ally. That's how the Obama administration views this.”
 
“I’m happy that hostages—because that’s what they were—were released—in return for people that violated United States law.”
 
“It doesn’t seem like there’s much symmetry there.”
 
[They were released] in return for people that violated Iran sanctions, Iranians that were in prison here for violating those sanctions."
 
Every time we show weakness it is a victory for Iran.”
 
“Prayers answered as American hostages coming home. Await more details on swap. They never should have been held at all.” (in a Tweet)
—Jan. 16, 2016, to reporters via Reuters, TIME and CNN 
 
 
Ben Carson
Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Johns Hopkins Hospital
 
“I am very pleased that four American citizens, who were illegally imprisoned by Iran in flagrant violation of longstanding international human rights norms, have finally been released.”
 
“[T]he fact remains that President Obama's nuclear agreement with Iran is fatally flawed and gravely jeopardizes the national security interests of the American people, our ally Israel and other peaceful nations in the Middle East and around the world.”
—Jan. 16, 2016, in a statement

Chris Christie
Governor of New Jersey
 
“The concern I have, and we don't know yet, is that the president made a trade. Now, when this president makes trades this is a big problem. This is not a guy I would let negotiate buying a car for me let alone anything else. I mean he makes bad deals and he seems to become an expert at making bad deal with the Iranians. The fact is that we shouldn't have to trade anything to get our citizens back home.”
—Jan. 16, 2016, in a statement
 

 

Ted Cruz
Senator from Texas

“I want to start with words of thanksgiving. We have just gotten the news that Pastor Saeed and three other Americans are apparently coming home from Iran. And I simply say praise God.”
 
“We don't know the details of the deal that is bringing them home. And then it may well be that there are some very problematic aspects to this deal. But at least this morning, I am giving thanks that Pastor Saeed is coming home.”
 
It is far later than it should have been, but we will be glad to welcome him home with open arms.”
—Jan. 16, 2016, to reporters
 
Carly Fiorina
Former CEO of Hewlett-Packard
 
*No reaction as of yet. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mike Huckabee
Former Governor of Arkansas
 
[T]hey should've been released before we ever sat down at the negotiating table.”
 
They've been there more than a year too long. Actually they've been there several years too long.”
—Jan. 16, 2016, during a South Carolina tea party convention
 
 
 
 
John Kasich
Governor of Ohio
 
"In terms of the release, I'm glad these people are out. But, you know, they were there on trumped up charges....It's a bad situation. We're glad they're out, but we don't want to have Iranians just grabbing people and trying to get their own people out."
—Jan. 17, 2016, on CBS Face the Nation
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rand Paul
Senator from Kentucky
 
“Our prayers have been answered today, as Pastor Abedini will return home to his wife and children in America. Pastor Abedini is an incredibly brave man for risking his life for his Christian beliefs and I am pleased that our government did not sit idly by while an American citizen was persecuted abroad due to religious intolerance.”
 
“The United States stands as a beacon of freedom and hope for those across the globe, and as such, we must continue to fight for the safe return of those wrongfully imprisoned abroad based on their religious beliefs.”
—Jan. 16, 2016, in a statement
 
Marco Rubio
Senator from Florida
 
“Thankful that prayers have been answered and Pastor Saeed, Amir Hekmati, Jason Rezaian and another American will finally come home.”
“Iran needs to also help locate Floridian Robert Levinson. This hostage-taking must stop.”
 
The Americans who were released “should have never, never been there in the first place.”
 
“None of them did anything wrong.”
 
“And we should not be involved in swaps. These things should never happen is my point.”
 
“The fact of the matter is that this tells us all that we need to know about the Iranian regime. That they take people hostage in order to gain concessions. And the fact that they can get away with it with this administration is one of the reasons.”
 
“I think this has created incentives for more governments to do this around the world.”
 
“When you do deals like the Bergdahl deal and other things you incentivize people to take American hostages and other things even if they did nothing wrong.”
—Jan. 16, 2016, to reporters
 

Rick Santorum
Former Senator from Pennsylvania
 
“First, we are returning criminals back to Iran in return for freeing innocent Americans. Under no rational analysis is that a fair deal.”
 
“Second, this exchange proves that Iran is no friend and continues to get the upper hand in negotiations with the Obama Administration. As I said in Thursday's debate, Barack Obama's deal with Iran must be shredded and I intend to do that on day one of my presidency.”
—Jan. 26, 2016, in a statement 
 
 
Donald Trump
CEO of the Trump Organization
 
I'm happy they're coming back. But I will tell you, it's a disgrace that they've been there for so long. It's a disgrace. Remember that. A total disgrace.”
“Somebody said they're getting seven people back. So essentially, they get a $150 billion plus seven and we get four.”
—Jan. 16, 2016, during a rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire
 
 
 
 

Photo credits: Jeb Bush [CC BY-SA 4.0]; Ben Carson by Michael Vadon [CC BY-SA 4.0]; Chris Christie by Michael Vadon [CC BY-SA 4.0]; Ted Cruz [public domain as US Govt work]; Carly Fiorina by Michael Vadon [CC BY-SA 2.0]; Mike Huckabee by Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 2.0]; John Kasich [public domain as US Govt work]; Rand Paul [public domain as US Govt work]; Marco Rubio by Gage Skidmore  [CC BY-SA 2.0]; Donald Trump by Michael Vadon  [CC BY-SA 4.0]; Hillary Clinton [public domain as US Govt work]; Martin O'Malle[CC BY 2.0]; Bernie Sanders [public domain as US Govt work]; Rick Santorum by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 3.0]

 

UN: Iran Has Met Nuclear Obligations

On January 16, the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s director general confirmed that Iran has taken the necessary steps to start implementation of the nuclear deal. Implementation Day will trigger the lifting or suspension of certain U.S., E.U., and U.N. sanctions on Iran. Iran will also be able to access the international financial system, repatriate billions of dollars in frozen assets abroad, and return to the oil market. The following is Yukiya Amano’s full statement published by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
 

 
Today, I released a report confirming that Iran has completed the necessary preparatory steps to start the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The report was submitted to the IAEA Board of Governors and to the United Nations Security Council.
It was issued after Agency inspectors on the ground verified that Iran has carried out all measures required under the JCPOA to enable Implementation Day to occur.
 
This paves the way for the IAEA to begin verifying and monitoring Iran’s nuclear-related commitments under the agreement, as requested by the U.N. Security Council and authorised by the IAEA Board.
 
Relations between Iran and the IAEA now enter a new phase. It is an important day for the international community. I congratulate all those who helped make it a reality, especially the group of countries known as the E3/EU+3, Iran and the IAEA Board.
 
In line with its commitments, Iran will start to provisionally implement the Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA. Together with other nuclear-related measures under the JCPOA, this increases the Agency’s ability to monitor nuclear activities in Iran and to verify that they are peaceful.
 

We have come a long way since the IAEA first started considering the Iran nuclear issue in 2003. A lot of work has gone into getting us here, and implementation of this agreement will require a similar effort. For our part, we are ready to get on with the job. 

 

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