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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Kirk and Menendez do it again

Senators Mark Kirk (R-Il) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) have once again pushed through a bill sanctioning Iran by a 100-0 margin, sending a message both to the Iranians and to President Obama.
"This bill is another tool that will demonstrate to Iran that the United States is not backing down," Robert Menendez, the Democratic senator who helped craft the legislation, said on the Senate floor.

"Today the US Senate put Iranian leaders on notice that they must halt all uranium enrichment activities or face another round of economic sanctions from the United States," said Republican Senator Mark Kirk, a co-author of the bill, in a statement.


The new package would extend sanctions to cover dealings with the National Iranian Oil Co and National Iranian Tanker Co, aiming to close a potential loophole that could have allowed Tehran, the world's third-largest petroleum exporter, to continue selling some of its oil.

The cumulative impact of US sanctions will be severe, said Suzanne Maloney, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy.

"Right now, both sides are playing a game of chicken - the Iranians want to see how much they can get and how little they can give, whereas Washington and its allies are counting on the looming threat of impending sanctions to elicit more concessions on the part of Tehran," Maloney said.

But a former CIA analyst for the Near East and Persian Gulf region said the sanctions could be counterproductive ahead of the Baghdad talks on Iran's nuclear program by making Tehran think that the West is less interested in a deal than in undermining the regime.

"The biggest requirement now for getting an agreement is not to pile on still more sanctions, but instead to persuade the Iranians that if they make concessions the sanctions will be eased," said Paul Pillar, now a security studies professor at Georgetown University.
The bill still has to go through a House-Senate Conference before it will become law.

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At 4:40 PM, Blogger Captain.H said...

"The bill still has to go through a House-Senate Conference before it will become law." AND be signed by President Obama. AND, if signed, actually implemented.

OR be labelled by O & Co. as "counterproductive to negotiations" or some such and vetoed. After a unanimous Senate vote, a veto would be difficult to justify and politically very touchy. But you never know with O & Co.


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