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

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' 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.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs