On March 20, Armenian defense minister Seyran Ohanyan visited Washington, D.C. Talks focused on U.S. defense assistance to the small republic, and regional issues were also discussed, but there is no evidence that Ohanyan’s U.S. counterpart, Leon Panetta, raised the question of Armenia’s excessive coziness with Iran. But he should have.
The United Nations reports that over 9,000 have been killed in Syria during the anti-regime uprising that has been going on for the last year. So far, however, President Obama has taken a hands-off approach, relying exclusively on diplomacy and sanctions.
President Obama, in a speech earlier this week at AIPAC, signaled a willingness to go back to finding a diplomatic solution with Iran. As Josh Rogin reports, a group of senators issued a joint statement for the president urging him not to back down from pressuring Iran, regardless of other measures he might be considering.
The prospect of Iran achieving nuclear breakout capability is becoming more imminent. Reports this past weekend indicate that Iran has built the infrastructure needed for operating more efficient and advanced centrifuges at the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant.
In a letter to be released later today, a bipartisan group of 89 House members urge Barack Obama to fully implement Iranian sanctions Congress passed last year. In particular, the members of Congress want the president to implement the legislation, and not the president’s interpretation of the sanctions.
The Senate passed the Kirk-Menendez amendment last week—which would sanction the Central Bank of Iran and other financial institutions—by a startling 100-0 vote. The Obama administration opposed the legislation and is currently working to weaken the sanctions as the bill as now in conference. Josh Rogin reports:
Earlier this week, on Monday, the advocacy group USA*Engage sent a letter to each of the 100 Senate offices. The organization’s intention was clear: to prevent the U.S. from imposing economic sanctions on Iran.
The attack on the British embassy in Tehran came just days after the Iranian “parliament” voted to expel the British ambassador, and therefore reeks of official complicity. The attack—complete with an invasion of the grounds, looting, and a brief hostage-taking—is an always useful reminder of the nature of the regime in Tehran. These are thugs, whatever their religious titles.