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The Iran Sanctions Enabling Act of 2009 (H.R. 1327), which passed a vote in the House yesterday, allows state governments to withdraw public funds from companies doing over $20 million a year with Iran’s energy sector. H.R. 1327 is problematic in that if it passes a through the Senate it will allow individual state governments to conduct foreign policy for the United States.
The Constitution explicitly denies individual states the right to engage in foreign policy, either economic or military, unless Congress authorizes them to do so through law. Putting aside those early debates over Federalism and Republicanism aside, the framers of the Constitution had an excellent reason for keeping individual states away from foreign policy: it is a terrible idea.
A country’s foreign policy should be presented as a unified, single position. This is necessary both to indicate the seriousness with which foreign policy decisions are made, and so that other nations know whom to engage and negotiate with over issues of international importance. One of the problems with trying to negotiate with nations like Somalia, or any other country that lacks a unified government, is that there are so many groups that control large swaths of the country that it is impossible to know whom to engage. It also presents the question of what is Somalia’s foreign policy.
I was born and raised in Connecticut, and it makes me nauseous when I think about the state legislature and especially the governor having direct influence over U.S. foreign policy. Connecticut is a state that three times elected a governor who was jailed for graft before completing his third term. The erstwhile governor’s replacement had to have the Connecticut attorney general explain how the state constitution outlines the power of the governor’s office. This is not exactly the caliber of politician I want weighing in on U.S. relations with Iran.
Allowing individual states to decide for themselves whether or not to divest companies tied to Iran’s energy sector leads to the fragmentation of U.S. foreign policy towards Iran. What if President Obama prefers to delay sanctions while the diplomatic track gets underway, yet a flood of states contradict the Commander-in-Chief by unilaterally sanctioning Iran anyway?  This is the crux of the problem, and it’s why yesterday’s vote was so counterproductive.
According to Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), there are twenty states that have already passed bills that divest public funds from companies dealing with Iran; in effect enacting sanctions against Iran. If the Senate passes its version of the bill (S. 1065), it will be interesting to watch the next round of negotiations with Iran. U.S. negotiators may say that sanctions will be put off if Iran holds to agreements made in Geneva, but meanwhile nearly half of the United States will, in fact, be sanctioning Iran.

TOPICS AND SOURCES FOR BLOG

Topics: Human rights, violence, protests, crackdowns, arrests, important political and religious figures (positions, statements…), other influential people, internal divisions within hardliners, freedom of press, important events (memorial ceremonies, Friday prayers, …)

Sources:

http://www.parlemannews.com/index.aspx (followers of Imam’s path)

http://www.mowjcamp.com/ (Mousavi supporter)

http://www.autnews.me/ (Amir Kabir University Newsletter, reformist)

http://www.irna.ir/?lang=fa (State owned)

http://www.peykeiran.com/Default.aspx

http://www.etemademelli.ir/ (I think it belongs to Karroubi)

http://www.norooznews.ir/ (pro-reform)

http://zamaaneh.com/ (pro-reform)

http://twitter.com/greenvote

http://twitter.com/iranbaan

http://www.kayhannews.ir/ (extremely conservative)

http://www.kodoom.com/

http://news.gooya.com/index.php

http://hamshahri.com/

http://jamejamonline.ir/

http://mowj.ir/index.php (Mousavi’s)

http://www.sarmayeh.net/ (quietly reformist newspaper in Iran)

http://www.rajanews.com/ (extremely conservative)

http://etemademeli.com/

http://ghalamnews.ir/ (Mousavi)

Media sources used for the blog:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian (this is BBC Persian it has great articles and also provides videos)

http://www.facebook.com/mousavi?ref=nf#/mousavi?ref=nf (Mousavi’s facebook page)

http://www.facebook.com/mousavi?ref=nf#/pages/Mehdi-Karroubi/68765459902?ref=ts (Karroubi’s facebook page-it is not updated as often as Mousavi’s facebook page, but it does provide useful information from time to time)

http://twitter.com/greenvote (Mousavi’s twitter page, very useful it has links and up to date information. The links are very useful they are links to sites such as Moje, parliman news, galam and many others)

http://www.roozna.com/ (Karroubi’s official newspaper site)

http://www.etemademelli.ir/ (Karroubi’s official web site)

http://greenrevolutioniran.blogspot.com/ (This site has the latest videos and pictures of the events that are taking place in Iran)

http://www.mowj.ir/index.php (Mousavi’s official web site)

http://twubs.com/iranelectionhttp://twittbee.com/IranElection/ (twitter feeds from Iran and others who are twitter on Iran, site offers a variety of pictures and video, although the feeds are not always reliable-use discretion)

http://www.kodoom.com/ (Iranian American news site, offers unbiased news)

http://www.kayhannews.ir/ (Conservative Iranian newspaper)

http://mahid.wordpress.com/ (Iranian blog-not always reliable-use discretion)

I usually start by covering the facebook pages and BBC Persian in addition to etemadmeli. All three sources provide key information on the political activities of Mousavi and Karroubi.

From the start the basic news will be on the activities of the politicians and their daily rhetoric. This bit is news worthy if it is not covered by mainstream media. Etemadmeli in particular is a well written newspaper that provides criticisms and daily editorial reports on the government of Iran.  While looking for videos and pictures the twitter feeds are the best place.

In addition to etemadmeli, Mousavi’s twitter page is where I find a lot of info. The twitter page provides a number of links that are different news sites and blogs.

The topics that I generally cover are:

· Human right issues in Iran (includes arrests, news on the prisons, killings)

· Letters and speeches that are delivered by key clerical and political figures

· Khatami, Rafsanjani, Khamenei, Karroubi, Mousavi and ministers and clerics from Qom

· Also I focus on influential individuals such as the mayor of Iran, IRGC commanders and people from the art/entertainment community.

· Any general events in Iran that are newsworthy

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