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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Obama threatens to veto Iran sanctions legislation

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, President Hussein Obama threatened to veto any Iran sanctions legislation passed by Congress.
"Let me be clear," Obama said: "If this Congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks, I will veto it."
The speech marked the first time Obama personally threatened to veto sanctions legislation against Iran. Senior White House aides have issued similar veto threats since the end of December, when Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Robert Menendez, a Democrat, introduced the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013.
The bill— which would trigger new sanctions tools against Iran should negotiations fail to reach a comprehensive agreement in twelve months time— has since garnered 59 public cosponsors in the upper chamber across party lines. The bill also has the aggressive backing of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the largest pro-Israel lobby in Washington.
"For the sake of our national security," Obama said Tuesday night, in his State of the Union address, "we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed."
The president noted in his speech that negotiations toward a treaty over Iran's nuclear program, now a decade old, would be difficult and "may not succeed." In prior remarks, Obama has put the odds of success in negotiations with Iran at less than 50 percent.
"If Iran’s leaders do not seize this opportunity, then I will be the first to call for more sanctions, and stand ready to exercise all options to make sure Iran does not build a nuclear weapon," Obama continued. "But if Iran’s leaders do seize the chance, then Iran could take an important step to rejoin the community of nations, and we will have resolved one of the leading security challenges of our time without the risks of war."
So it will take 100-0 vote in the Senate like in 2011? Senator Mark Kirk (R-Il) - one of the two main co-sponsors - is ready.
"The American people – Democrats and Republicans alike – overwhelmingly want Iran held accountable during any negotiations," Kirk said in a statement. Polls show that while most Americans don't prioritize foreign policy matters, they view Iran with deep distrust, and support more sanctions over less.
"While the president promises to veto any new Iran sanctions legislation, the Iranians have already vetoed any dismantlement of their nuclear infrastructure," Kirk added, calling his bill an "insurance policy" for Congress.
I wouldn't take Obama too seriously. Get a load of this:
CNN noted that Obama failed to get any of his top 2013 State of the Union priorities -- a jobs program, gun control and sweeping immigration reform -- through Congress. He went into this year’s speech with only a 43% job-approval rating.
True. But the sanctions may be all that Congress can do. They cannot force the President to go to war.

What could go wrong?

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