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November 21, 2013

Policy Memo: Senator Kirk’s Diplomacy-Killing Sanctions Amendment

 This week, Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) introduced an amendment that would amplify sanctions and sabotage ongoing diplomatic negotiations that represent the best chance of preventing a nuclear-armed Iran, helping to pave the path to war.

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This week, Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) filed an amendment (#2295) to the National Defense Authorization Act (S.1197) that would amplify sanctions and sabotage ongoing diplomatic negotiations that represent the best chance of preventing a nuclear-armed Iran, helping to pave the path to war.  The bill has five cosponsors, all Republicans (Sens. McConnell, Cornyn, Rubio, Graham and Ayotte).

If passed, the Kirk amendment would:

  • Impose new sanctions on insurance/underwriting of Iranian exports, including oil.
  • Impose new sanctions on any entity that allows Iran to access Iranian asset reserves abroad.
  • Impose new sanctions on barter purchases with Iran.
  • Eliminate Presidential waiver authority for new sanctions unless the President certifies that Iran has permanently suspended any enrichment, halted heavy water reactor work, ended ballistic missile work, signed the Additional Protocol, and is in full cooperation with the IAEA. 

The impact of the Kirk amendment would be to:  

  • Force the U.S. to sanction its allies, thus undermining international cooperation on the sanctions regime and unraveling sanctions without Iran making a single nuclear concession.
  • Tie the President’s hands at the negotiating table by preventing the U.S. from lifting new sanctions.
  • Impose a de facto “zero enrichment” ultimatum over the talks.

 

The political fallout would be:

  • The elimination of a viable diplomatic deal because new sanctions could not be eased under terms defined by Kirk.
  • With no deal, Iran would continue its nuclear program unabated or even intensified–as was the case when the Bush Administration demanded “zero enrichment” in the past and Iran responded by creating new facts on the ground to enhance their leverage.
  • The amendment would empower hardliners who oppose negotiations and slam the door on an opportunity to deal with Iranian moderates.

 

 
While the sanctions amendment is unlikely to receive a vote before the Thanksgiving break, a vote on new Iran sanctions could occur after recess.  NIAC and 28 other organizations recently joined together to urge the Senate to hold off on passing new sanctions and any restrictive policy language while negotiations are ongoing.
 

 

 

 

 

 

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