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Proposed Congressional Legislative Sanctions on Iran

by Stephen Lendman Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015 at 4:36 PM


Proposed Congressional Legislative Sanctions on Iran

by Stephen Lendman

Bipartisan Senate members drafted new legislation. Imposing new sanctions if Iran doesn't agree to US demands by June 30.

Regarding its legitimate nuclear program. With no military component. No evidence suggests one.

It's no different from similar programs in dozens of other countries.

Iran alone is unjustly accused of covert nuclear weapons capability development. A longstanding US/Israeli propagated Big Lie.

Washington and European partners imposed multiple rounds of sanctions. Congressional hardliners want more.

Senators Mark Kirk (R. IL) and Robert Menendez (D. NJ) drafted the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015.

AIPAC claims it "strengthens American diplomatic efforts with Iran. It puts in place sanction that will go into effect if - and only if - Iran and the P5+1 do not reach an agreement."

Code language for unconditional iranian submission to outrageous US demands. Ones Tehran won''t ever agree to. Nor should any nation. Adversely affecting its legitimate nuclear program.

Revised legislation changed earlier controversial provisions. Including support for Israel if it feels "compelled (to take) military action in legitimate self-defense against a nuclear threat from Iran."

New language calls for "revers(ing) (Iran's) illicit nuclear infrastructure and permit(ting) on-site and short-notice inspections."

Initial language stipulated "dismantl(ing)" Iran's "illicit nuclear infrastructure" and maintaining "continuous, around-the-clock" monitoring.

Nonbinding "sense of Congress" stipulations include:

Reinstituting frozen sanctions if no deal is reached by July 6.

New sanctions on Iran's energy sector without resolution by August 3.

Countries buying Iranian oil would have to reduce purchases by September 7 if no deal is reached.

Additional Iranian officials will be sanctioned without resolution by October 5.

Foreign banks doing business with Iran's central bank or other Iranian financial institutions will be sanctioned if no deal by November 2.

Additional sanctions will be imposed on other "strategic sectors" of Iran's economy if no resolution by December 7. Including automotive, construction, engineering and mining.

Legislative language prevents Obama from waving sanctions until Congress has "30 days of continuous session" to review any agreement reached.

A January 15 Arms Control Association statement said the following:

"Proponents of additional sanctions at this time claim that these measures will not go into effect until negotiations breakdown and that the possibility of additional sanctions pressure will keep Iran at the negotiating table."

"However, passing new sanctions while talks are ongoing risks shattering the carefully built international coalition pressuring Iran to remain at the negotiating table.”

On January 21, Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking Democrat Robert Menendez lied at a hearing titled Iran Nuclear Negotiations: Status of Talks and the Role of Congress:"

Saying "Iranians are playing for time…(D)eceiv(ing) the international community and violat(ing) UN Security Council resolutions to arrive within weeks of achieving nuclear break-out capacity."

Menendez offered no corroborating evidence supporting his baseless accusations. Nor do other congressional or administration members.

Big Lies repeatedly substitute for hard truths. Longstanding US practice. Menendez accused Tehran of "18 months of stalling."

Threatening "consequences" for failure to accept US demands. "Iran is clearly taking steps that can only be interpreted as provocative," claimed Menendez.

It's "shuffl(ing) the deck and deal(ing) the cards in" P5+1 talks, he said.

Annual US intelligence assessments show Iran's nuclear program is entirely peaceful. With no military component. Suggesting otherwise shows Washington's dirty game.

On the one hand, accepting Israel's duplicitous Iranian "nuclear deception" claim. Evident from US chief P5+1 negotiator Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman saying she doesn't trust Iran.

Outrageously claiming "deception is part of (its) DNA." No nations are more duplicitous than America and Israel.

None more threaten world peace. Iran hasn't attacked another country in over two centuries. Washington and Israel do it repeatedly.

Both are nuclear armed and dangerous. With illegal chemical and biological weapons arsenals. Used in wars they wage. Along with radiological munitions.

Odds for an equitable nuclear agreement with Iran this year or next are slim at best. Tehran so far agreed to much more than it got back in return.

At the same time, it won't relinquish its legitimate right to develop and use peaceful nuclear power.

It hasn't yielded to hardline US pressure for 35 years. Nor will it no matter how long P5+1 talks continue.

Netanyahu urges no letup in sanctions on Iran. He wants tougher ones imposed. Perpetuating the canard about a nonexistent Iranian nuclear weapons program.

US Speaker John Boehner invited him to address a February 11 joint congressional session.

According to Haaretz, talks between Netanyahu advisers and Boehner as well as other Republicans circumvented White House officials. Violating diplomatic protocol.

Israeli ambassador to America/close Netanyahu confidant Ron Dermer initiated the process.

On the one hand, a scheme to help Netanyahu remain prime minister with general elections upcoming in mid-March.

On the other, giving him a congressional platform to lobby against Iran's legitimate nuclear program.

Urge new sanctions. Go all out to undermine P5+1 talks. Kill any chance for resolving things diplomatically. Perhaps providing a pretext for attacking Iran.

Obama ludicrously said "(t)he American people expect us to only go to war (with Tehran) as a last resort…"

No matter that its nuclear program is entirely peaceful. It threatens no one. It seeks cooperative relations with all nations.

It deplores war. It promotes regional peace. Polar opposite US/Israeli policies.

On January 21, Bloomberg headlined "Israeli Mossad Goes Rogue, Warns US on Iran Sanctions."

Breaking ranks with Netanyahu. Warning "US officials and lawmakers…" Saying new sanctions "would tank (ongoing) Iran nuclear negotiations."

Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker wants legislation requiring Senate approval for any Iranian nuclear deal reached. So other Senate hardliners.

According to Bloomberg, Israeli intelligence operatives briefed White House officials and US senators. Expressing concerns about imposing new sanctions on Iran.

"Evidence of the Israeli rift surfaced Wednesday when Secretary of State John Kerry said that an unnamed Israeli intelligence official had said (new sanctions would be) like throwing a grenade into the process," Bloomberg reported.

Corker disagreed saying "(s)ome of us were in Israel (last) weekend over this very same issue."

"We have heard no one, no one, say that if Congress were to weigh in on the final agreement it would in any way destabilize the negotiations."

Menendez accused administration officials "in its quotes (of) sound(ing) like talking points that come straight out of Tehran."

Bloomberg reported two US officials saying Mossad warned about new sanctions "caus(ing) (nuclear) talks to collapse."

America's intelligence community agrees, said Bloomberg. Iranian diplomats threatened to leave talks if new sanctions are imposed.

Key Tehran stipulations for any deal are for all sanctions to be removed. Relations normalized.

Imposing no unreasonable restrictions on Iran's legitimate nuclear program. Treating the Islamic Republic like all other nations operating nuclear reactors.

Odds of America agreeing are virtually nil. Longstanding US plans call for regime change. Suggesting Iran wants nuclear weapons capability is red herring cover for Washington's real aim.

Subverting its independent government. Replacing it with pro-Western stooge leadership. Eliminating Israel's key regional rival.

Giving America greater regional control. Including over Iran's huge oil and gas reserves.

It remains to be seen if P5+1 talks succeed, fail, or continue under new interim agreements throughout Obama's final two years in office.

Leaving things for his successor administration to handle US/Iranian relations. If past is prologue, expect no normalization ahead.

Perhaps war if Washington fails to get Tehran to bow to its will. A most unlikely prospect. Iranian independence is too precious to lose.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

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