News / USA

Some Lawmakers Call for Tougher US Action Against Iran

Treasury Undersecretary David Cohen (L), with Commerce Undersecretary David Mills, testifies before the Senate Banking Committee hearing 'Addressing Potential Threats from Iran: Administration Perspectives on Implementing New Economic Sanctions One Year L
Treasury Undersecretary David Cohen (L), with Commerce Undersecretary David Mills, testifies before the Senate Banking Committee hearing 'Addressing Potential Threats from Iran: Administration Perspectives on Implementing New Economic Sanctions One Year L
Cindy Saine

U.S. lawmakers are calling for senior Obama administration officials to step up the pressure on Iran, after an alleged Iranian plot was disrupted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States. Several members of  Congress complained that sanctions against Iran do not appear to be working, and that stronger action is required.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on "Iran and Syria: the Next Steps" has been scheduled for weeks. But the dramatic revelation earlier this week by Attorney General Eric Holder that members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps were involved in a conspiracy to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador in Washington dominated the hearing.  

Republican Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen called the plot a wake-up call, and questioned the wisdom of continued efforts by the Obama administration to engage with the Iranian government.

"You believe that engagement with a country whose leaders have reportedly sanctioned this assassination plot, because money transfers would have very difficult in a country like that were it not approved by higher-ups, that engagement with this country is possible?" said Ros-Lehtinen.

The Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, Wendy Sherman, defended administration policies towards Iran, saying President Barack Obama has imposed the toughest sanctions on Tehran of any country in the world.

"This administration is committed to addressing the continued threat posed by the Iranian regime's nuclear ambitions, its support for international terrorism, its de-stabilizing activities in the region and its human rights abuses at home," said Sherman.

Treasury Undersecretary David Cohen said the administration is considering new sanctions targeting the Central Bank of Iran, and he said it is well aware of the threat.

"This is a dramatic reminder that the urgent and serious threat we face from Iran is not limited to Iran's nuclear ambitions," said Cohen.

But Republican Representative Connie Mack of Florida joined many other lawmakers in expressing skepticism that threatening more sanctions is enough of a response to an alleged attempt to blow up a restaurant to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington.

"I am not sure with those comments that I have got a lot of confidence that the threat is being taken seriously enough," said Mack.

Democratic Representative Gary Ackerman of New York raised the question of how the United States would have responded if the alleged plot had succeeded. "And also, if they were, if they, heaven forbid, would have been successful in that attack, what would have been our response?"

President Barack Obama has said the United States will continue to apply the toughest sanctions possible against Iran, and will not take any options off the table.

Treasury Undersecretary Cohen argued the sanctions against Iran and Syria are having an impact.

"As a result of these sanctions, the [Syrian] Assad regime is struggling to find buyers for its oil, to access foreign currency, and to maintain economic stability."

Analysts say more congressional investigations into the alleged Iranian assassination plot are likely to follow, and that the pressure from lawmakers on the president to step up the pressure on Iran is likely to continue.

You May Like

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs