A senior State Department official on Thursday urged members of Congress to hold off on sanctioning Iran while the Obama administration attempts to court the rogue regime, according to testimony offered before the Senate.
The momentum to restrict Iranian oil exports has stalled, and it is time for Congress to eschew a more gradualist approach and mandate zero oil exports with zero waivers. This, along with more concrete military pressure, could increase the otherwise slim chances for success in expected new talks with Iran. U.S. lawmakers and Obama Administration officials should not fear the impact on the oil market, which can manage a cutoff of Iranian oil revenue better than can Tehran.
Last month, the Obama administration added seven new Iranian companies, because of proliferation concerns, to the ever-growing list of sanctioned Iranian entities. Yet, as important as this latest move is, one crucial category of Iranian entities is still missing from U.S. policy—companies owned or controlled by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
John Kerry, who will be nominated later today to be the next secretary of state, is the richest member of the U.S. Senate. His estimated net worth is, at minimum, $198.65 million, according to disclosure forms.
Kerry's disclosure forms also reveal that he has invested in companies accused of doing business with Iran.
Since suffering a near-fatal stroke last January, two tasks have obsessed Senator Mark Kirk from his encampment at a Chicago rehabilitation center: relearning how to walk, and expanding the economic war the Illinois Republican has been leading against the Islamic Republic of Iran for the past decade.
Germany appeared over the past several months to have finally fallen in line behind European Union efforts to stiffen economic sanctions against Iran. But in late October a group of German parliamentarians dealt a blow to the campaign to isolate Iran’s rulers. Bundestag Members Bijan Djir-Sarai of the Free Democratic Party, Thomas Feist of the Christian Democrats and Angelika Graf of the Social Democratic Party traveled to Tehran for a five-day visit.
Based on last week’s debate, both President Obama and Governor Romney believe that squeezing the Iranians economically is the best way—and perhaps the only way—to end their nuclear-weapons program without resorting to a military strike. Of course, nobody knows if sanctions will actually work. But if the United States is truly serious about crushing Iran’s economy, it must pursue a more aggressive strategy, and it must put more pressure on Iranian trading partners.
Despite all evidence that sanctions are hurting Iran's economy, four rounds of nuclear talks failed to prove that Iran's regime is now more malleable to a compromise. Diplomacy will continue, but with Iranian proposals falling short of Western minimum requirements, it is time to ask whether sanctions are working.
Berlin As the Obama administration and U.S. allies seek to punish Iran for making no concessions in the latest round of negotiations over its nuclear activities, Switzerland has snubbed them by refusing to take part in the European Union’s sanctions efforts.