Lew said that the temporary and reversible sanctions relief have
"Iran is losing a significant amount in oil sales alone from the
sanctions that remain in place, more than the value of the temporary
relief," Lew said in a speech in Jerusalem to the U.S.-Israel Joint
Economic Development Group on Wednesday.
"As we approach the last month of the agreed upon period for
negotiations, Iran's economy remains in a state of distress that
brought the government to the negotiating table in the first place,"
Such sustained pressure gives the United States the opportunity to
pursue a negotiated agreement with Iran, in conjunction with its
P5+1 partners, that will assure the international community that
Iran's nuclear program is entirely peaceful, Lew said.
"We will take the time to do this right, and we will not rush into a
bad deal," he said. "No deal is better than a bad deal."
Iran and six world powers re-launched talks on Tuesday to try to
salvage a deal on its nuclear activity by a July deadline, striving
to prevent a long-time standoff from descending into a wider Middle
Israel has been concerned that the powers have not done enough to
prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
Israel also has voiced concern about the prospect of its closest
ally, the United States, cooperating with what it considers its
deadliest foe, Iran, to stave off a sectarian break-up of Iraq.
Lew said the United States was concerned about the "grave situation"
"As the president (Barack Obama) makes a decision on next steps, let
me be clear that this is not primarily a military challenge," he
said, noting the United States has steadily increased security
assistance to the Iraqi government over the past year. "While it is
evident that Iraq needs significantly more help to break the
momentum of extremist groups and bolster the capabilities of Iraqi
security forces, there is no military solution that will solve
[to top of second column]
Any action the United States takes would have to be done in
conjunction with a serious and sincere effort by Iraqi leaders to
govern in a non-sectarian manner, promote stability and unity among
a diverse population, build and invest in the capacity of security
forces, and address the legitimate grievances of Sunni, Kurd, and
Shia communities, Lew said.
Lew also expressed optimism about the U.S. economic recovery, which
is in its fifth year.
"After a harsh winter that restrained growth in the first quarter,
we are still expecting the underlying strength of the economy that
was evident last year to result in a strong second half of this
year, and economic data over the past three months supports that
optimism," he said.
(Reporting by Steven Scheer; Additional reporting by Ari Rabinovitch;
Editing by Toby Chopra and Robert Birsel)
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