Washington: The sanctions regime against Iran would collapse if the Republican-majority Congress were to "kill" the historic nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic, as countries such as India, Japan and South Korea would no longer support any such move, the White House has warned.
"The sanctions regime would collapse if Congress were to kill this deal. What that means is that the international leverage that we have previously used to reach this agreement would vanish," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.
"The key to the success of this latest round of sanctions has been the aggressive enforcement of countries around the world, including countries that aren't even a party to this particular agreement -- countries like India, Japan, South Korea, and others that previously relied heavily on the importation of Iranian oil -- and by scaling back their oil purchases that had a negative impact on Iran's economy but also had a negative impact on the domestic economy of those individual countries," he told reporters yesterday.
Earnest said Iran would still obtain financial benefits of sanctions relief. "The problem is, Iran is going to get all of that money and the US doesn't get anything for it."
The nuclear accord was reached in Vienna this week after almost two years of negotiations which ended in a final 18-day stretch of virtually round-the-clock talks.
Because of the sanctions relief that's being offered, Iran is taking a number of significant steps to curtail their nuclear programme, he said.
"They're going to dramatically reduce their stockpile of enriched uranium. They're going to remove 13,000 centrifuges. They're going to overhaul and essentially dismantle, or all but dismantle, their plutonium reactor at Arak. And Iran has committed to cooperating with the most intrusive set of inspections that has ever been imposed on a country's nuclear programme," Earnest said.
"But if the US Congress votes to kill this deal, Iran will get all the benefits of this deal without having to give up anything," he said.
Based on the conclusion that's been reached by "99 percent of the international community, Iran at some point will begin to receive sanctions relief after they have taken demonstrable verified steps to significantly curtail their nuclear programme," and to make a public commitment that they will not obtain a nuclear weapon.
"Or Congress can vote to allow Iran to get off scot-free, and to get all the sanctions relief," the spokesperson said in response to a question.
Iran has always denied charges that it was seeking to build a nuclear bomb, insisting its nuclear programme was for peaceful purposes only.
Earnest said India along with other major countries have supported this deal.