News / Middle East

White House Presses Senate to Delay new Iran Sanctions

Reuters
The White House hosted a meeting of aides to Senate committee leaders on Thursday seeking to persuade lawmakers to hold off on a package of tough new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, a senior Senate aide said.
 
The White House will press for another delay on a sanctions bill that had been expected to come to a vote in the Senate Banking Committee last month but was held back after appeals from President Barack Obama's administration to let negotiations on Iran's nuclear program get under way.
 
The aide said Republicans would resist further delay, but that the decision was in the hands of Democratic Senator Tim Johnson, the committee's chairman, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, also a Democrat.
 
A Johnson spokesman confirmed that a meeting on Iran took place at the White House but gave no further details. A Reid spokesman was not immediately available to comment.
 
While Congress has sought harsher sanctions on Iran, the administration wants more time to give negotiations over Iran's nuclear program a chance. The negotiations that include six world powers are due to resume Nov. 7-8 in Geneva.
 
Washington and its allies believe Tehran is developing the ability to make a nuclear weapon, but Tehran says the program is for generating power and medical devices.
 
Sanctions imposed in 2011 by Washington and the EU have combined to slash Iran's oil exports by more than 1 million barrels per day, depriving Tehran of billions of dollars worth of sales per month and helping to drive up inflation and unemployment.
 
European governments took steps on Thursday to re-impose sanctions on Iran's main cargo shipping line which, if finalized, could complicate the push to settle the dispute over Iran's nuclear program.
 
CASE FOR SANCTIONS
 
U.S. senators have begun debating behind closed doors a new sanctions bill that could seek further cuts in Iran's oil exports and limit the ability of the administration to issue waivers to the sanctions.
 
The House overwhelmingly approved new sanctions in July that seek to cut exports to almost nothing in a year.
 
The White House confirmed there was a meeting with Senate aides on Thursday, but a spokeswoman would not comment on whether the administration would push for further delay in the sanctions.
 
“Congress has been an important partner in our efforts thus far. We will continue our close consultation, as we have in the past, so that any congressional action is aligned with our negotiating strategy as we move forward,” said Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council.
 
“Today's meeting is part of these ongoing consultations, following on the recent P5+1 talks with Iran,” she said, referring to the six powers - the United States, France, Britain, Germany, China and Russia.
 
A Middle East analyst at the Council on Foreign Relations said now is not the time to delay fresh sanctions. “I don't understand why you would weaken the sanctions now, or you would not strengthen the sanctions,” Elliot Abrams, an aide on the Middle East to former President George W. Bush, told the Reuters Washington Summit on Thursday. “The sanctions are what brought the Iranians to the table.”
 
Wendy Sherman, the under secretary of State for political affairs who participated in this month's talks in Geneva, discussed Iran with members of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee in a classified briefing at the Capitol on Wednesday.
 
The committee's top Democrat, Representative Eliot Engel, attended the meeting at the Capitol but declined comment on the classified nature of the talks. A spokesman said he supports efforts to engage with Iran but believes Tehran agreed to negotiate because of the sanctions passed by Congress.
 
“Tehran must know that Congress will not acquiesce to lifting sanctions until they completely and verifiably dismantle their nuclear program,” said Daniel Harsha, a spokesman for the House committee's Democrats.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid