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Friday, December 20, 2013

Defying Obama, Senators Propose New Iran Sanctions

Leah Barkoukis 

The Obama administration has raised concern over introducing a bill that could impose new sanctions on Iran, and earlier this month Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that any nuclear deal would be “dead” if that happened—even if they didn’t take effect for six months.
Those warnings seem to have fallen on deaf ears, however, as a bipartisan group of 26 senators introduced a bill Thursday that would do just that.
Fox News has the details:
 But the senators pushed the legislation arguing that it could help bring about a better deal in the end. The bill calls for "prospective sanctions" that go into effect if Tehran violates the nuclear deal it reached with world powers last month or lets it expire without a long-term accord.
The measures include a global boycott on Iranian oil exports within one year and the blacklisting of Iran's mining, engineering and construction industries. The goal, according to supporters, is to strengthen the negotiating leverage of the Obama administration as it seeks to pressure Iran into a comprehensive agreement next year that would eliminate the risk of the Islamic republic developing nuclear weapons. […]
Under the Geneva deal with Iran, the Obama administration promised no new sanctions for six months. It has furiously lobbied Congress not to act during that period.
“Current sanctions brought Iran to the negotiating table and a credible threat of future sanctions will require Iran to cooperate and act in good faith at the negotiating table,” Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said in a statement. Menendez and Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., introduced the legislation, which is sponsored by 13 Democrats and 13 Republicans.
 Under the bill, the administration would have to certify to Congress every 30 days Iran's adherence to the interim pact. Without that certification, the legislation would re-impose all sanctions that have been eased and put in place the new restrictions. Foreign companies and banks violating the bans would be barred from doing business in the United States. Beyond the economic measures, the bill includes potentially contentious language requiring strong American action if Israel decides to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran's nuclear program. Israeli Prime Minister Benajmin Netanyahu has regularly issued such threats.

Commenting on the bill, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said: "We don't think it will be enacted, we certainly don't think it should be enacted."

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