Former Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick MP has expressed concerns about emerging reports of the shape of a renewed nuclear deal with Iran. With negotiations reportedly nearing their conclusion in Vienna, Jenrick has said that there is a “serious danger” that money from sanctions relief will be “placed back into the hands of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps” and “embolden” an “authoritarian regime”.
Information leaked from Vienna suggests that negotiators – from the UK, France, Germany and the USA – may be on the brink of agreeing to Iranian demands to lift sanctions against the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps), a proscribed terrorist organisation in the USA since 2019.
Former Cabinet minister Robert Jenrick MP, has stated his concern in The Telegraph over the forthcoming agreement. He was quoted as saying: “At a time when the West is finally coming together to tackle one authoritarian regime, we must be very careful about emboldening another. With no restrictions on how Iran can spend the cash windfall generated by a new deal, there is a serious danger that it will be diverted from the impoverished and repressed Iranian people and placed back into the hands of the IRGC and Iran’s web of terrorist proxy groups”.
He went on to call for the Government to “not sign an agreement that removes known terrorists and terror enabling groups like the IRGC from sanctions and critical anti-terror blacklists”, stating that is would “make us all less safe”.
On Saturday, it was reported that Russia placed last minute pressure on the deal by demanding a written guarantee that Ukraine-related sanctions would not inhibit them from trading with Tehran. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that they “need a guarantee that these sanctions will not in any way touch the regime of trade-economic and investment relations which is laid down in the nuclear deal. We have asked for a written guarantee that the current process triggered by the United States does not in any way damage our right to free and full trade, economic and investment cooperation and military-technical cooperation with the Islamic State”.
Stephanie Al-Qaq, the UK Foreign Office’s Middle East & North Africa Director, tweeted on Friday from Vienna saying: “We are close. E3 [France, Germany and the UK] negotiators leaving Vienna briefly to update ministers on the state of play. Ready to return soon.” In the hashtags, she referred to the talks as in their “endgame”.