US says Iran might use sanction relief for its military

Head of US military, General Dempsey says Iran may use sanction relief for its military purposes as he visits Israel to reassure security partnership

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The Chief of Staff of the US army General Martin Dempsey said on Tuesday during a visit to Israel that Iran would likely use economic advantages gained after the relief of sanctions for its military if a nuclear deal can be reached at the end of this month.

Dempsey reassured Israeli authorities when he met with his Israeli counterpart Gadi Eisenkot in Tel Aviv and said Washington would try to mitigate Iran-related security risks, with or without a nuclear deal.

"If a deal is made, we've got work to do. If a deal is not made, we've got work to do," Dempsey told reporters in Jerusalem. "And I think we've built up enough trust and confidence in each other- military to military- that we're prepared to do that work."

After a decade of deadlock, Iran and the group of six world powers, dubbed the P5+ 1, consisting of the US, the UK, France, Russia, China and Germany, had reached a preliminary tentative framework nuclear agreement in Switzerland on April 2.

The 10-year valid deal promises Iran that all UN sanctions on Tehran will end with Iran’s fulfilment of the criteria within a planned calendar, after a June 30 final agreement was sealed between the parties.

Israel considers a nuclear Iran would be an existential threat to its conventional security, but also opposes a possible final nuclear agreement that is expected to remove economic and military sanctions over Tehran.

Israel’s re-elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last month that there was still time to stop a deal between world powers and Iran as he speculates as it would allow Tehran to develop nuclear weapons.

But US President Barack Obama immediately replied Israel in the Camp David summit with Arab Gulf leaders that the deal with Iran would not affect relations between the US and their allies in the region, Israel and the Arab Gulf States.

The Arab Gulf countries also perceive Iran as being a threat since Tehran has been expanding its influence in Yemen, Iraq and in Syria, as well as supporting the Hezbollah militant group in Lebanon.

Dempsey’s trip to Israel just came after the CIA Director John Brennan’s visit to Tel Aviv last week when the parties discussed the circumstances of a prospective Iran nuclear deal, according to Israeli daily Haaretz.

The US top military officer said he understands Israel’s worries on Iran nuclear deal which could open some spaces for Iran to empower its military by funding of surrogate Shiite groups like Hezbollah if the long-anticipated nuclear agreement is sealed between Iran and the West.

"I share their concern," Dempsey said. "If the deal is reached and results in sanctions relief, which results in more economic power and more purchasing power for the Iranian regime, it's my expectation that it's not all going to flow into the economy to improve the lot of the average Iranian citizen. I think they will invest in their surrogates; I think they will invest in additional military capability."

The West insists upon that a complete removal of sanctions would depend on the the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) full-fledged access into Iran’s nuclear facilities and freely delivering a comprehensive report on its findings which will confirm or deny the allegations and accusations attributed to Tehran.

But the IAEA reported last week that it had made some progress, but there was no breakthrough in allegations whether Iran attempted to gain nuclear bombs remained essentially stalled ahead of the deadline.

The IAEA said Iran’s unwillingness to cooperate with the international investigators would cause the transparency problem, without that the watchdog said it cannot "conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities."

TRTWorld and agencies