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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Business is business

Sanctions against Iran have run into new opposition from within the United States. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, National Association of Manufacturers and the National Foreign Trade Council have written a letter to National Security Advisor Jim Jones and National Economic Council Chairman Larry Summers opposing the Iran sanctions legislation that was passed 412-12 in the House, which is currently under consideration in the Senate.
The groups say the Iran gas ban bill as passed in the House and a companion Senate bill under consideration would damage U.S. alliances and international trade, by mandating U.S. penalties on foreign firms that violate U.S. unilateral Iran sanctions:

"While we agree that preventing Iran from developing the capability to produce nuclear weapons is an urgent U.S. national security objective, the unilateral, extraterritorial, and overly broad approach of these bills would undercut rather than advance this critical objective," the letter from nine U.S. business groups says. "The history of similar efforts demonstrates that such a unilateral approach would provoke a negative response from our allies and would divert attention from an effective, coordinated response to Iran’s nuclear ambitions."

"Finally, the legislative proposals eliminate the discretion afforded the president," a point the administration has quietly made to key lawmakers it is working with to try to ensure any final bill worked out in conference gives the president discretion over when to impose sanctions.
The bills eliminate Presidential discretion because the President has shown over the past year that he doesn't know how to exercise it. And it takes a unilateral approach because there is little hope of getting real sanctions through the UN Security Council. But who cares about all that? Business is business.


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