January 28, 2010

BREAKING: Senate Approves Broad Iran Sanctions

Just over an hour ago, (6pm Thurs.) the Senate passed a sweeping expansion of Iran sanctions by unanimous voice vote.  The bill, S.2799, was introduced by Senator Dodd last Fall and would require the President to impose draconian sanctions on a broad range of activities involving gasoline imports in Iran.
Some, including NIAC, have criticized the bill for imposing mandatory sanctions that the President must enforce (or else issue a waiver on a case-by-case basis), rather than giving the President options.  Many Obama administration officials have weighed in as well on the measure, recommending that it be altered to preserve the President’s flexibility in matters of foreign policy and that it be tailored so as not to harm innocent Iranians.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had this to say prior to the bill’s passage:

McConnell: Madame President. Frequently these kinds of unilateral sanctions measures make little or no difference.  This measure, however, is crafted in such a way that it could actually be effective with America alone, not having to depend on cooperation of other countries that tend to be less concerned about whether Iran ultimately becomes armed with  nuclear weapons.  So this is an important piece of legislation as the Majority Leader has said, as Senator McCain has said, as Senator Lieberman has said.  It can actually make a difference.

The timing for this move was unexpected, after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced only days ago that he expected the bill to be brought up “in the next few weeks.”

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