The Good, Bad Nuclear Deal for Iran: Western Banks Holding More than $100 Billion in Iranian Assets

The U.S. acts as if its being magnanimous in coming to a nuclear agreement with Iran, but Washington offered Iran “only $7 billion in sanctions relief when American and European banks still hold more than $100 billion in assets.” President Obama is stealing Iran blind and continues to claim the “right” to attack the country in the future. “It is in fact a slap in the face to Iran.”

After years of punishing sanctions, the Islamic Republic of Iran has gained a little breathing room from the enemies who brought that country to the brink. In exchange for not having its economy destroyed completely, this signatory of the Non Proliferation Treaty has promised not to do what it has every right to do, namely enrich uranium for peaceful, civilian purposes as much as it wants to. The recently signed agreement with the P5+1 nations will give back a fraction, only $7 billion in sanctions relief when American and European banks still hold more than $100 billion in assets. According to American Zionists and the senators and members of congress they control, the six month agreement is presented as if it were a harbinger of the apocalypse. It is in fact a slap in the face to Iran, a nation made desperate by the United States and its allies.

The Iranian people have paid a high price for exercising their human, political and economic rights. Their economy is on life support, its currency devalued, and its oil worth less than it ought to be because many countries refuse to buy it. Oil exports have dropped 60% since 2010.

Iran has been seriously weakened by the West and the only thing worse than hearing American politicians scream about appeasement is knowing that some of them don’t even believe their own words. They know that opposing the Israeli government is a sure path to retirement and political oblivion. The rest love American hegemony and revel in seeing other people under Uncle Sam’s boot. The venom is all the more ridiculous because Iran still sits firmly in American and Israeli cross hairs. The game isn’t over by any means.

Barack Obama isn’t any nicer than critics of the deal. He is merely more shrewd than they are. He cannot have forgotten that just two months ago he was forced into an ignominious retreat when he sought popular and political support for attacking Syria. Red meat for right wing dead enders won’t serve him very well when the long term goals of empire can still be kept within reach.

The president’s statement on the nuclear deal showed him at his very worst. He lied about Iran’s capability to produce nuclear weapons. He didn’t acknowledge Iran’s past efforts at diplomacy or that it had previously suspended enrichment in a vain attempt to prevent sanctions. He said nothing about the amount of Iranian funds still held hostage and he acted as though Iran were dragged kicking and screaming to the table when in fact the United States dug in its heels until this year.

It would be wonderful if Iran were truly released from the yoke of the West. Its ally Russia has shown resolve in standing up to the Americans, and China and other Asian nations have made their own deals with Iran. But the wild cards have always been the United States and Israel. Israel is more than likely to blame for the murders of Iranian scientists and mysterious, unsolved terror attacks. Israeli politicians openly speak of attacking Iran and threaten to do so without assistance from the United States. Obviously they are unable to do as much as they threaten, but their power in Washington means that they are the existential threat to Iran and not the other way round.

Israel is confident enough in the power of its world wide lobby that it doesn’t hesitate to use a French politician with dual citizenship to openly do its bidding in attempting to kill the deal. Prime Minister Netanyahu may have looked momentarily foolish when he endorsed Mitt Romney but the fact that that he dared do so at all speaks volumes about his certainty in getting Americans to do what he wants.

He and his American compatriots won’t spend the next six months being silent. The ink on the agreement hadn’t dried out before the administration began backtracking and publicly expressing doubts about what they had worked so hard to achieve. It isn’t clear if they are defending themselves from the right wing or if they are in fact biding their time to hit Iran when the moment is ripe. There is a pattern of the targeted nation agreeing to give up its prerogatives only to be attacked anyway. If the ghosts of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi were able to speak they would tell us all about that.

This agreement is a victory for the United States more than it is for Iran. It is the kind of sleight of hand that American presidents use as pretexts for war. If Iran doesn’t dot every T and cross every I it will be labeled as an untrustworthy rogue state. Of course the real rogues are firmly ensconced in Washington DC.

Margaret Kimberley‘s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at 

Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)

Articles by: Margaret Kimberley

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