Tags: Barack Obama | Iran | iran | nuclear | sanctions | Mark Kirk | Robert Menendez

WSJ to Congress: Ignore Obama's Bluster, Pass Iran Sanctions Bill

By    |   Tuesday, 20 Jan 2015 11:35 AM

At the start of nuclear negotiations with Iran more than a year ago, President Barack Obama vowed that Iran would not be permitted to play for time while wringing economic concessions out of the West.

If Iran fails to meet its commitments, "we will turn off" the promised relief from Western sanctions and "ratchet up the pressure," Obama said in November 2013.

But, according to The Wall Street Journal, Obama has made it clear that he is determined to loosen sanctions on Tehran regardless of its behavior.

The president's threat to veto Iran sanctions legislation, issued Friday at a press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron, occurs after two "deadlines" for finalizing a deal to curb Iran's nuclear program have come and gone.

The Obama administration's latest argument, according to the Journal,  is that a sanctions bill would be interpreted as a hostile act by Tehran and that it would "disrupt unity" among the six countries negotiating with Iran – the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China and Germany.

"These are remarkable claims" about legislation introduced by Sens. Mark Kirk, an Illinois Republican, and Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, which would penalize Iran only after the current negotiating deadline expires at the end of June, according to the Journal.

The legislation, which would reimpose the sanctions Obama suspended when he signed the interim deal with Tehran, includes visa bans and provisions blocking the assets of senior Iranian officials. It would also tighten financial sanctions, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Passing the bill now could help persuade Iranian negotiators that they cannot string the West along indefinitely without paying a price, according to the Journal.

"Would that cause Iran to walk away from negotiations? That's a strange argument coming from an Administration that boasts that Iran agreed to the interim deal thanks to the bite of strong sanctions."

Obama's real reason for opposing the sanctions bill "may be that he knows it is also a message to him not to strike a bad deal," according to the Journal, which says the talks have switched from a demand that Iran give up its nuclear program to "how much of a 'window' Iran will have to build a bomb."

The final two years of Obama's presidency "will be full of foreign-policy dangers as adversaries seek to exploit Mr. Obama's weakness and desire for diplomatic agreements of any kind," the Journal concluded.

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The president's threat to veto Iran sanctions legislation, issued Friday at a press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron, occurs after two "deadlines" for finalizing a deal to curb Iran's nuclear program have come and gone.
iran, nuclear, sanctions, Mark Kirk, Robert Menendez
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2015-35-20
Tuesday, 20 Jan 2015 11:35 AM
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