News / Middle East

    US Senate Advances New Sanctions on Iran

    Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011, during the committee's hearing to examine US strategic objectives towards Iran.
    Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011, during the committee's hearing to examine US strategic objectives towards Iran.
    Michael Bowman

    The U.S. Senate has unanimously approved  new sanctions on Iran, with the intent of isolating and crippling the country’s central bank. The vote was 100 to nothing.

    The logic of the Senate measure is simple: Iran’s economy and nuclear program depend on oil revenue, which must pass through the central bank. Cutting off the central bank from the outside world will, it is hoped, bring Iran’s economy to its knees.

    Republican Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois said, “The central bank of Iran is the heart and soul of a web of terror, of nuclear production, of human rights abuse, and the oppression of other peoples, principally in Syria.”

    Under the measure, any business or financial entity that has dealings with Iran’s central bank would be cut off from the U.S. market. “It forces financial institutions and businesses around the world to choose between the small and shrinking $300 billion economy of Iran and the $14 trillion economy of the United States. In that contest, we all know how just about everyone will choose," he said.

    But while voicing support for strengthened sanctions against Tehran in general, the Obama administration has not supported this particular measure, approved as an amendment to the Senate’s Defense Authorization bill. U.S. Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the administration worries the amendment’s punitive intent will impede, rather than foster, international pressure on Iran.

    “That threat being focused on our closest allies risks a dynamic with those governments and with those banks that I think is as likely to push them away and to impede the ability to bring together a coordinated effort against Iran as to generate that," he said.

    Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman warned the amendment could bring unintended and counter-productive consequences if Iranian oil suddenly disappears from global petroleum supplies. “There is absolutely a risk that, in fact, the [global] price of oil would go up, which would mean that Iran would have more money to fuel its nuclear ambitions, not less," she said.

    Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, who co-authored the amendment with Senator Kirk, noted the measure allows for delayed and flexible implementation to reduce the likelihood of negative consequences.

    “This amendment was crafted in a way that gives the president two significant pieces of discretion. Number one, to determine that there is sufficient supply in the oil market that would not create a disruption - and if he finds that is not the case, then the actions would not go into effect. He has a second opportunity [to waive provisions]: a national security waiver," he said.

    Menendez expressed exasperation about the administration’s resistance to his amendment, noting that U.S. officials have acknowledged it is Iran’s oil industry that fuels its nuclear program.

    The Senate’s Defense Authorization bill, now amended to include Iran sanctions, faces additional legislative hurdles and a presidential veto threat over an unrelated matter. The House of Representatives is considering a similar package of heightened Iran sanctions.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora