Obama, Senate spar over new Iran sanctions threats

Two senators working on legislation to reinstate sanctions and impose new ones if Iran doesn't make good on pledge to roll back nuclear program
Associated Press
Nov 26, 2013

An agreement secured with its greatest global foe, the Obama administration pleaded Tuesday with a more familiar if often difficult negotiating partner not to scuttle last weekend's Iran nuclear deal: Congress.

Just back from his diplomatic triumph in Europe, Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a video message to legislators as he urged that they not introduce new economic measures against Iran at a time the U.S. and fellow world powers are withdrawing some sanctions in exchange for the Iranians curtailing their nuclear program.

Kerry asserted that now is the time to get to work on a final agreement that removes any suspicion that Iran is trying to produce nuclear weapons. "We all know that if the agreement falls apart, Iran is going to quickly face even tougher sanctions," he said in the message.

Although Kerry was reaching out personally to key senators, Democrats and Republicans appeared determined to increase the pressure on Tehran. Many in Congress are skeptical, if not outright hostile, to the deal reached in Geneva. Two key senators already are at work on legislation to reinstate the full force of sanctions and impose new ones if Iran doesn't make good on its pledge to roll back its nuclear program.

"The American people need an insurance policy to prevent a rerun of North Korea," said Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., who is crafting a bill alongside Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J. Critics of the accord reached in Geneva believe it could allow Iran to trick international monitors while it assembles an atomic weapons arsenal, similar to North Korea last decade.

Iran sanctions evoke great passion in Washington. Although Obama sees the economic pressure as the key motivation for bringing Iran's new moderate President Hassan Rouhani to the negotiating table, pulling them back is the administration's only real carrot for securing nuclear concessions.

Congress, which passed the sanctions, is leery. Israel sees any letup on the economic pressure as a dangerous concession that allows Iran to move even closer to nuclear weapons capability. And the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee has joined the call, saying new sanctions are needed "so that Iran will face immediate consequences should it renege on its commitments or refuse to negotiate an acceptable final agreement."

Menendez and Kirk hope to have their bill ready for other lawmakers to consider when the Senate returns Dec. 9 from its two-week recess, according to legislative aides.

The measure would require the administration to certify every 30 days that Iran is adhering to the terms of the six-month interim agreement and that it hasn't been involved in any act of terrorism against the United States.

Without that certification, sanctions worth more than $1 billion a month would be re-imposed and new sanctions would be added. The new penalties would include bans on investing in Iran's engineering, mining and construction industries and a global boycott of Iranian oil by 2015. Foreign companies and banks violating the sanctions would be barred from doing business in the United States.

The senators want to send the bill to the president before the end of the year, said the aides, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak by name on the matter. White House officials wouldn't say if Obama might veto such legislation.

Kerry, whose message sought to push back against what he called "misinformation," spoke privately by telephone with Menendez in an effort to sway him, officials said. The secretary of state warned of dire consequences.

"Passing any new sanctions legislation during the course of the negotiations, in our view, would be unhelpful," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

"Other countries would think that the United States is not living up to our end of the bargain in terms of giving the negotiations a chance," she said. "And it could have the opposite impact of what is intended by driving the Iranians to take a harder line in these negotiations in response."

Psaki warned of new sanctions dividing the U.S. and its five negotiating partners — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

Sanctions are as much about securing international cooperation as drafting tough laws. If major commercial powers that maintain business with Iran such as China or Japan, for example, decide to ignore the new restrictions, the Obama administration would have relatively few enforcement options. Shutting Chinese or Japanese banks out of the U.S. market isn't realistic because of the economic impact such a step would entail.

Having voted new sanctions against Iran four months ago, the House is waiting for the Senate to act. The House would probably overwhelming support any new legislation against Iran, given that it voted 400-20 in favor of new penalties in July.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has yet to determine how he'll react to the agreement, Democratic aides said.

Reid said last week that the Senate would move forward with new sanctions when lawmakers return from their Thanksgiving break. But he took a more cautious approach Monday, saying on NPR's "Diane Rehm Show" that Menendez and Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, will study the interim agreement with Iran and hold hearings if necessary.




How could anyone in their right mind doubt BO&Co can't make this work? After the amazing work done on the ACA, stimulus bill, shovel ready programs, NSA, IRS, Govt transparency, etc etc etc, I'm sure they're ready to manage a nuclear maniacal threat

Dr. Information

The guy can't focus on what socks he wearing tomorrow, yup, he will lead this in the right direction. Said nobody.


....and you know this how?


Im being thankful.. Google is paying 75$/hour! Just work for few hours & spend more time with friends and family. On sunday I bought themselves a Alfa Romeo from having made $5637 this month. its the best-job Ive ever had.It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it out http://goo.gl/f6e95V

Darwin's choice

Iran says Obama is lying....lmao!!



It's like the threat of U.S. military action against Syria all over again.

It's Pres. Obama's cry for help: Please Congress, stop me before I do something stupid AGAIN.


Obzo and his Secretary of State Lerch, the Neville Chamberlin of our time.


Re: "Neville Chamberlin"

Meanwhile, Winston Churchill was calling for taking action.

The Big Dog's back

You right wingnuts just can't handle the truth.

Darwin's choice

Going down swinging, eh Dog??


IMO, more like flailing.


Big Dog, as one of his supporters who somehow got BO elected twice, you are just as accountable for his failures. It's called eating your own dog food


That would make you responsible for W's MASSIVE failures.


Wrong guess, but nice try
Did not vote for Bush in 2004 because of his poor 1st term


"You right wingnuts just can't handle the truth."

Which Truth can't they handle? ObamaSCARE suck? IRS jacking up conservative organizations? Bhengazi? Closing Gitmo? getting out of Iran before the end of 09? and Afganastan shortly after? Leading from behind, or was that being a behind (aka as an a$$)? I can go on and on but would like it if you could narrow down the "truth" you are asking about.


"You right wingnuts just can't handle the truth."

Which Truth can't they handle? ObamaSCARE suck? IRS jacking up conservative organizations? Bhengazi? Closing Gitmo? getting out of Iran before the end of 09? and Afganastan shortly after? Leading from behind, or was that being a behind (aka as an a$$)? I can go on and on but would like it if you could narrow down the "truth" you are asking about.


Dr. Krauthammer:

"Obama is a different kind of politician. He's a charismatic politician. He came in out of a cloud. He came out of nowhere. He came in on great speeches and rhetoric. And once the rhetoric fails, once people hear it and don't trust it, everything else disappears."


So, Pres. Obama came into office with rhetorical BS ("hope & change") and charisma, but no accomplishments.

With an approval rating of 39%, only the droids trust this guy.

The Big Dog's back

According to the NBC/WSJ poll, only 22% view the GOP positively

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/p...


Yep! Americans are increasingly distrusting govt.

Even the Dems are lining against Pres. Obama on lifting the economic sanctions on Iran.

"Harry Reid: Senate will look at stronger Iran sanctions in December"


The Big Dog's back

Not Gov, just the right wingnuts who infiltrated Gov trying to destroy it. paul, cruz, issa.


Better get yourself newer poll numbers, yours were OLD.

"A new Quinnipiac University poll shows the parties are now tied on the generic ballot, with each party at 39 percent.

A combined 23 percent of registered voters either prefer another candidate, wouldn't vote, or are undecided."


Only droids still love Pres. Obama and govt.


So now Reid, Menendez et al. are right wing nuts? I see your head gasket blowing again in the near future. Take another gulp of your kool aid my friend it make the failure more tolerable. LOL.


Let's hope this tick has a complete mental breakdown like before. It was actually fun to watch! All 3 brain cells collapsed at once.


We should have forced Iran to be covered by Obamacare as part of any treaty. That would have forced them to walk away, if they could have gotten on line to check it.

Darwin's choice

LMAO !!!!!


We're only talking about nuclear weapons in the hands of fanatics....what could possibly go wrong

The Big Dog's back

Bani-Sadr, the former President of Iran, has also stated "that the Reagan campaign struck a deal with Teheran to delay the release of the hostages in 1980," asserting that "by the month before the American Presidential election in November 1980, many in Iran's ruling circles were openly discussing the fact that a deal had been made between the Reagan campaign team and some Iranian religious leaders in which the hostages' release would be delayed until after the election so as to prevent President Carter's re-election"[15] He repeated the charge in "My Turn to Speak: Iran, the Revolution & Secret Deals with the U.S.


Re "the Reagan campaign struck a deal with Teheran,"

"October Surprise conspiracy theory":


Proof that some "Dog's" eat their own feces.


Yet you are the first one to call people nuts for believing in conspiracies. LOL. Man I think you are losing your mind.


Re: "losing your mind."

Reminds me of one of my favorite Mose Allison tunes:

"Your Mind Is On Vacation"