nuclear program

Rand Paul nixes new Iran sanctions during negotations

Just a few weeks ago, it looked like Congress was going to overwhelmingly pass new Iran sanctions while the Obama administration was still negotiating with the prospective nuclear nation over their enrichment program. That hit a brick wall this week as Senator Rand Paul became the first Republican to denounce the idea:

I’ve been for sanctions. I have voted for sanctions in the past, to try to get the Iranians to negotiate. I think while they’re negotiating, and if we can see that they’re negotiating in good faith, I don’t think it’s a good idea to pass sanctions while we’re in the midst of negotiations.

Now it looks like there may not even be a vote on new sanctions until this summer. Even under a Democrat-led Senate, it’s an entirely new thing for this kind of dithering and delay on Iran issues. However, coming less than a year after the failed Syria military intervention idea, it’s becoming clearer that the American people and even their representatives may be weary of perpetual global police action at our expense.

Senate may weigh more sanctions against Iran, despite nuclear deal

The deal brokered between six major countries, including the United States, and Iran to slow the country’s nuclear program in exchange for loosened sanctions has been met with a cool reception in Washington from members of both parties.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) acknowledged on Monday that stronger sanctions against Iran may be considered when the chamber reconvenes early next month, though, they could be vetoed by President Obama:

Reid called the pact negotiated between six world powers and Iran an “important first step,” but expressed uncertainty whether it would be good enough.

“When we come back, we’ll take a look at this to see if we need stronger sanctions,” he said in an interview on “The Diane Rehm Show.”
“If we need to do stronger sanctions, I’m sure we will do that,” he said. “We’ll move forward appropriately.”

Reid acknowledged President Obama could veto stronger sanctions passed by Congress if he believed they ran counter to his foreign policy agenda.

Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the third-ranking Senate Democratic leader, criticized the deal at a press conference in New York Sunday.

“It was strong sanctions, not the goodness of the hearts of the Iranian leaders, that brought Iran to the table. And any reduction relieves the pressure of sanction and gives them the hope that they will be able to obtain a nuclear weapon,” he said.

Schumer said the “disproportionality” of the agreement would increase the likelihood of Congress passing additional sanctions in December.

Deal reached to slow Iran’s nuclear program

Obama's Iran statement

News broke late Saturday evening that a historic deal had been reached between Iran and six countries — including the United States, Russia, and China — that would limit the Islamic republic from developing nuclear weapons.

The “historic” deal would require the regime in Teheran to destroy its 20 percent uranium and freeze the 3.5 percent stock the country has currently produced for its nuclear energy program.

The Washington Post explains that 20 percent uranium is “needed for research reactors that produce isotopes for cancer treatment and other applications, such as agricultural to enhance fertilizers.” The paper notes that this level of enrichment is “only several steps away from being boosted to weapons-grade levels at more than 90 percent.”

In return, there would be no further sanctions against Iran for at least six months, provided that the regime allows daily inspections and follows through on the destruction of the higher levels of enriched uranium.

“These are substantial limitations which will help prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon. Simply put, they cut off Iran’s most likely paths to a bomb,” said President Barack Obama in a televised statement late Saturday evening. “Meanwhile, this first step will create time and space over the next six months for more negotiations to fully address our comprehensive concerns about the Iranian program. And because of this agreement, Iran cannot use negotiations as cover to advance its program.”

October surprise?: U.S. to negotiate with Iran over nuclear program

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

With President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney set to square off in a debate on foreign policy tomorrow evening, The New York Times reports that the administration may begin negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program:

The United States and Iran have agreed in principle for the first time to one-on-one negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, according to Obama administration officials, setting the stage for what could be a last-ditch diplomatic effort to avert a military strike on Iran.
News of the agreement — a result of intense, secret exchanges between American and Iranian officials that date almost to the beginning of President Obama’s term — comes at a critical moment in the presidential contest, just two weeks before Election Day and the weekend before the final debate, which is to focus on national security and foreign policy.

It has the potential to help Mr. Obama make the case that he is nearing a diplomatic breakthrough in the decade-long effort by the world’s major powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, but it could pose a risk if Iran is seen as using the prospect of the direct talks to buy time.

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