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 Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora