White House to lobby Congress to stay new Iranian sanctions, again

posted at 11:21 am on December 10, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

In an interview with TIME published yesterday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif let it be known that, should Congress impose a new round of sanctions (even if they don’t go into effect for six months, because why put a timeline on a sanctions pause you can hopefully drag out indefinitely?), “the entire deal is dead. We do not like to negotiate under duress. And if Congress adopts sanctions, it shows lack of seriousness and lack of a desire to achieve a resolution on the part of the United States.” …A sentiment that, really, makes absolute sense, seeing as how Iran’s endgame here has always been to get the world to back off on the sanctions without actually having to do anything real to back that up themselves.

Quite a few members of Congress, however, remain unconvinced by either Iran’s transparent posturing or the Obama administration’s puerile struggle for a foreign-policy win, and a bipartisan group of senators is fixing to add a freshly minted round of sanctions onto the defense authorization bill — if, that is, Majority Leader Harry Reid will allow it. NRO reports:

The aide says that the agreement, brokered by Senator Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) and Senator Mark Kirk (R., Ill.), will impose new and stricter sanctions if talks between Iran, the U.S., and other nations fail to produce a long-term bargain by the end of the six-month period set out by the temporary Geneva deal reached a couple weeks ago. These higher sanctions could reduce Iran’s oil exports by at least 30 percent, as well as blacklist additional sectors of the country’s economy (such as mining, engineering, construction, and any other sector that the president deems to be “of strategic importance to the Iranian economy”). The proposed sanctions will also freeze all remaining Iranian foreign-exchange reserves.

This would add up to a stricter sanctions regime than the one the U.S. just agreed to relax — if the sanctions before the Geneva agreement were a 7, the aide says, the new sanctions that will kick in would be an 8.5.

I don’t think the exact details have come out just yet, but the Obama administration, of course, is not partial to this plan. Ergo, it’s back to their pre-Geneva position of trying to convince Congress to hold off, via the LA Times:

The Obama administration will launch a lobbying push Tuesday to stop Congress from approving harsh new penalties for Iran, a move the White House warns could sink international negotiations aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear program. …

Secretary of State John F. Kerry is expected to argue against the proposal when he testifies Tuesday before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Wendy Sherman, the chief U.S. negotiator with Iran, and David Cohen, the Treasury Department’s sanctions chief, will appear later this week. …

“Sanctions during the course of negotiations would be seriously counterproductive,” Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security advisor, told reporters Monday.

Or, perhaps, sanctions during the course of negotiations could be seriously productive, as Krauthammer pointed out last night:

That statement shows how fatuous is the president’s statement that we just heard, that we mustn’t assume that a regime can’t change its behavior. All the evidence is that the Iranian regime is not changing its behavior. … Because, what the Congress is thinking of doing, what this resolution would do, is nothing except outline and enforce the provisions. Number one: Six months. It says, OK, in six months, if negotiations are a failure, we’re going to go back and reintroduce sanctions. And it says, ‘what is the end game that we want?’ Very simple: Dismantle the plutonium facility, number one. Number two, take away the enriched uranium under the interim agreement. It’s simply changed into a uranium oxide, which can be chemically reversed. And third, it has to dismantle the machines that spin the uranium and enrich them. That’s simple. One, two, three points, and that would end the program and create a new era of peace between the West and Iran. Either it’s done, or it’s not. That’s exactly what we want, and why would the administration reject a resolution which would enforce every element of the plan it says it already has?


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Looks like Jon Cary needs halp passing The Global Test.

Christien on December 10, 2013 at 11:27 AM

Our SoS proves his ability and worthiness. Did y’all know he served in Vietnam?

platypus on December 10, 2013 at 11:43 AM

The horse’s azz “more successful than Hillary” is already dead?

Schadenfreude on December 10, 2013 at 11:47 AM

Count on the congress to be stupid.

Schadenfreude on December 10, 2013 at 11:48 AM

[Dismantling Iran's nuclear weapons program is] exactly what we want, and why would the administration reject a resolution which would enforce every element of the plan it says it already has?

Because, Mr. Krauthammer, Obama’s plan contemplates Iran maintaining its resolve to obtain nuclear weapons. He believes Iran *will* get them, Iran deserves them, and so his best play is to get on their good side to dissuade Iran from using them.

Diplomats define success as obtaining agreements and avoiding war. They simply do not compute the notions that some agreements are not worth obtaining (or should not be obtained at all), and that some wars are inevitable or at least better than the alternative.

Zumkopf on December 10, 2013 at 11:57 AM

HMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, ………………….

Iran
20h
====

Report: US senators prepare legislation to pressure Iran, aides say – @Reuters
read more on reuters.com
========================

U.S. senators prepare legislation to pressure Iran

By Timothy Gardner
WASHINGTON Mon Dec 9, 2013 3:15pm EST
*************************************

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/09/us-iran-usa-legislation-idUSBRE9B812S20131209

canopfor on December 10, 2013 at 12:00 PM

JFKerry is going to buy some more Purple Hearts and throw them at congressmen.

Bishop on December 10, 2013 at 12:08 PM

HMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, ………………….

Iran
20h
====

Report: US senators prepare legislation to pressure Iran, aides say – @Reuters
read more on reuters.com
========================

U.S. senators prepare legislation to pressure Iran

By Timothy Gardner
WASHINGTON Mon Dec 9, 2013 3:15pm EST
*************************************

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/09/us-iran-usa-legislation-idUSBRE9B812S20131209

canopfor on December 10, 2013 at 12:00 PM

And?

WitchDoctor on December 10, 2013 at 12:11 PM

…why would the administration reject a resolution which would enforce every element of the plan it says it already has?

Because the President, Mullah Jarrett (and an overwhelming majority of liberals/Dems) don’t have a problem with Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon, with the most common response being: “Well Israel has nukes, why not Iran?”

Those of you with liberal friends, ask them if they’re OK or not OK with Iran obtaining a nuclear weapons capability. I’ll wager a thousand quatloos they say “Nope, no problem whatsoever because Israel has them too and Israel is as big a threat to regional/world peace as Iran is.”

That’s the response I’ve been getting & imo this is what is driving the Obama clown car right now vis-a-vis Iranian nukes.

Sacramento on December 10, 2013 at 12:47 PM