News / USA

US Lawmakers Debate Increased Iran Sanctions

FILE - Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 21, 2013.
FILE - Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 21, 2013.
Amid delicate international negotiations seeking to curb Iran’s nuclear program, the Obama administration is trying to convince skeptical U.S. Senators not to impose additional sanctions against Iran.
 
The financial and economic sanctions have crippled the Iranian economy. Inflation and unemployment have increased substantially and the value of Iran’s currency has plummeted.
 
Over the years, the United Nations Security Council, along with the United States and the European Union, imposed sanctions to pressure Iran to end its uranium enrichment program, which can be used for civilian or military purposes.
 
Tehran has steadfastly denied that it is developing nuclear weapons, but the United States and the European Union believe otherwise.
 
Some experts believe that the sanctions have forced Iran back to the negotiating table.
 
As a result, an interim agreement was signed between Tehran and world powers that freezes for six months Iran’s nuclear program. In exchange, Tehran received modest relief from the international sanctions, though the U.S. this.
 
Call for more sanctions
 
Several U.S. senators want to impose additional measures - a move opposed by the Obama administration.
 
But with the U.S. Congress adjourning for the end of year holiday break, the opportunity for congressional action this year has all but passed. And any new sanctions measure that might be approved would face a near-certain veto by President Barack Obama.
 
Still, wary Iran watchers like Emmanuel Ottolenghi with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, says additional tougher sanctions have merit. He said the senators would be placing a sword of Damocles over the head of the Iranian government.
 
“They are basically saying let us legislate sanctions that will kick in, in case there is no compliance or there is no final agreement that meets certain standards,” he said.
 
Ottolenghi said there is a chance that the interim agreement may become the final accord which he sees as a bad outcome.
 
“You need to have something that incentivizes the administration to reach the best possible agreement that meets international demands and legal obligations for the Iranian regime,” he said.
 
Secretary of State John Kerry said recently that new sanctions would undermine the current negotiations. He described the situation as “a very delicate diplomatic moment.” And the Iranian government has threatened to boycott the talks if new sanctions are put in place.
 
The six-month agreement between Iran and the world powers stipulates no new sanctions by the United Nations, the European Union or the United States.
 
New sanctions could backfire
 
Joel Rubin, an expert on sanctions with the Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation, said “if the United States moves on sanctions during this six-month period, it will be perceived by the other parties to the agreement, the other members of the U.N. Security Council - Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany as well - [as] the U.S. ... violating the agreement.
 
“That could have dire consequences for their willingness to support global sanctions - the same sanctions we are relying on for pressure on Iran,” Rubin said. “So it would be imprudent to move on sanctions right now when the pressure is on. New sanctions could unravel that pressure.”
 
Daryl Kimball, head of the Arms Control Association, said there is no choice but to negotiate.
 
“The alternative is clearly far worse," he said. "The alternative is that they don’t reach an agreement, Iran’s program is unfrozen, further sanctions are imposed, tensions rise and the risk of war increases.”
 
So far, the United States has been firm in enforcing existing sanctions, targeting more than a dozen companies and individuals for evading international sanctions against Iran and for providing support for Tehran's nuclear program.
 
The U.S. Treasury and State departments announced in recent days they are freezing assets and banning transactions of the entities they say are involved in proliferating material used for weapons of mass destruction and are attempting to evade sanctions against Iran.  


Andre de Nesnera

Andre de Nesnera is senior analyst at the Voice of America, where he has reported on international affairs for more than three decades. Now serving in Washington D.C., he was previously senior European correspondent based in London, established VOA’s Geneva bureau in 1984 and in 1989 was the first VOA correspondent permanently accredited in the Soviet Union.

You May Like

Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Cranksy from: USA
December 14, 2013 1:55 PM
Sanctions cause ONLY collateral damage.

by: PermReader
December 14, 2013 10:16 AM
"some experts believe that sunctions have forced Iran back to the negotiating table" - the simple thought needs the experts for the dodgy author. While Americans believe that the president is the Muslim, "experts" are sure he is the Islamist.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

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