News / USA

No Sign Iran Sanctions Bill Will Come to US Senate Vote

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 14, 2014.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 14, 2014.
Reuters
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made clear on Tuesday he has no immediate plan to allow a vote on a bill that would slap new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, even as backers promised to keep up their efforts to win more support.
 
Fifty-nine of the 100 senators - including 16 of President Barack Obama's fellow Democrats - support the bill, despite Obama's warning that its passage could jeopardize delicate international negotiations to curb Iran's nuclear program.
 
New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is a lead sponsor of the measure, which has caused friction between the White House and some Democrats in Congress.
 
Iran warned that it would back away from the negotiations if any new sanctions were passed. Obama promised to veto the measure if it passes both the Senate and House of Representatives.
 
Asked when he might allow a Senate vote on the legislation, Reid acknowledged the support, but also noted that 10 Democratic committee chairs had written to him opposing it.
 
“Let's see how this plays out,” he told reporters.
 
“The legislative process is working forward here. I am going to sit and be as fair an umpire as I can,” Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said.
 
Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate, told reporters he believed the vote should take place, and suggested that backers might be able to muster the 67 votes necessary to override a presidential veto.
 
“We're going to continue to continue to press in order to allow a vote on an issue that obviously enjoys the support of a very large bipartisan majority here in the Senate,” he said.
 
A weekend agreement to begin implementing a temporary nuclear deal between Iran and world powers on Jan. 20 helped reinforce the argument that the sanctions bill should not go ahead while negotiations continue, even though it would not actually impose the new restrictions unless Iran failed to comply with the interim agreement.
 
'Secret side deal'
 
But backers of the bill said on Tuesday reports that the Obama administration has negotiated a “secret side deal” with Iran on the future of its nuclear program underscored the importance of doing everything possible to clamp down on Tehran.
 
“We call on the Obama Administration to clarify this situation immediately and ensure that members of Congress are fully and promptly informed about its nuclear diplomacy with Iran,” Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, both sanctions bill co-sponsors, said in a statement.
 
The White House said there is no secret agreement, merely that the documentation associated with the interim agreement has not yet been released.
 
“We will make the text available to the Congress and the public, but we must work with the parties on when and in what format the information will be released. And we hope to do that soon,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters during a daily news briefing.
 
Olli Heinonen, a former deputy director general at the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency, said it was not surprising that a document from the agreement was not immediately released to the public.
 
“Have we had these kinds of understandings before? Actually I think so,” Heinonen told reporters in a teleconference on Tuesday hosted by The Israel Project advocacy group.
 
He said the document probably has two parts; half on the  undertakings at Iran's nuclear installations and centrifuges, and the other on the timing of sanctions relief.
 
The 1994 agreed framework between Washington and North Korea over the Asian country's nuclear power plants contained “certain understandings” that were never officially disclosed to the public, Heinonen said.

You May Like

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid