In the flurry of media coverage about the failure to come to terms with Iran over a comprehensive nuclear deal, one figure stands out: the $700 million in sanctions relief that Iran will pocket each month while talks continue. Asked about the money in a press conference yesterday Secretary Kerry avoided the issue saying:
Well, we’re not going to – as I said, we’re going to live under the joint agreement that we’ve already put in place a year ago. That has a pro-rated, already agreed upon fund that is dispersed, and since we’re living under it, we’ll live up to that agreement. But we’re not doing anything additional beyond that that I know of.
That kind of money isn’t exactly huge, but as the Washington Post notes: “even Khamenei seems to prefer that Iran not be completely isolated—and they do appear to like the $700 million in sanctions relief they get every month.”One group that certainly won’t like it are the Arab Sunni nations supporting the fight against Iran and its proxies in Syria. Their annoyance at seeing Iran benefit from delayed talks will only be underlined by the comparatively paltry sums that the US is sending in aid to the Syrian rebels, which totals about $500 million in total.As we wrote yesterday, a delayed deal has created a fantastic status quo for Iran, but one that deeply stresses our relationships with Arab Sunnis, Turkey, and Israel who, correctly, view Iran as the primary beneficiary.