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

US Gives Malaysia Questionable Upgrade in Human Trafficking Ranks

Malaysia’s upgrade seen as removing barrier to country’s participation in the US-led 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership More

Turkey, US Try to Establish Buffer Despite Differences

Coalition airstrikes in proposed zone would aim to drive out Islamic extremists, allowing targeted area to come under sway of anti-Assad rebels More

Video US: Millions Exploited by Vast Fortunes of Human Trafficking

State Department's annual report calls exploitation 'modern slavery,' brutalizing girls, women into prostitution and forcing men, women and children into low-wage jobs across the globe 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.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs