Iran seems to be trusted by the White House but distrusted by Congress. While the US administration has continually called for a delay on imposing new sanctions, Congress is not buying the act put on by Iranian leaders and has decided to take action. It appears that the White House trusts Iran to cooperate, while Congress trusts no one. The claim by those who support the administrations position is that the new proposal by Congress may scuttle negotiations.
A bill has been introduced that would put in place significant sanctions, in an effort to insure Iranian compliance with regards to ending their nuclear aspirations. While the proposed new sanctions have created quite a stir, suggesting that the action represents direct disregard for White House requests, a potentially greater issue is that the details of the bill may preemptively place future blame for a middle east conflict squarely on Israel.
The newly proposed sanctions, which some fear could scuttle negotiations with Iran, have been introduced in bipartisan fashion by two democrats and one republican. The action, due to its support from both sides of the isle, shows that the issue is significant enough that it has managed to gain the support of democrats, despite numerous White House requests to hold off on sanctions.
Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ, Chuck Shumer (D-NY), and Mark Kirk (R-IL) have introduced the new resolution which proponents say complies with White House requests while providing added insurance. The new resolution attempts to address the administrations concerns by allowing President Obama to waive the proposed new sanctions so long as Iran continues to comply in halting its nuclear program. In essence, the new legislation would be a looming piece of insurance to strongly encourage Iran to keep its promises.
The Menendez-Shumer-Kirk resolution has garnered a fair share of criticism already, as opponents allege that it will scuttle negotiations which do not need additional weight behind them. Critics assert that the proposal will simply further damage Iran’s economy, and is a sign of distrust capable of scuttling US efforts to reach a lasting agreement with Iran.
Although a significant amount of attention has been placed on the new resolution being a sign of direct opposition to White House requests, the point which has garnered the most resistance has nothing to do with sanctions. The fact that the resolution allows President Obama to waive their implementation effectively does away with the argument against additional sanctions.
The one detail that seems to have garnered the greatest resistance is a point in the new proposal which would amount to a preemptive decision to provide military and economic assistance to Israel, should the nation deem it necessary to defend itself against Iran in the future. This assuming that Iran, in defiance of the stated goal of US-Iranian negotiations (halting its nuclear program), continued its nuclear development until Israel felt threatened enough to take action.
The situation’s complex nature is partially due to both “sides” (Iran and Israel) taking clear positions regarding the matter. Iran has previously made no attempt to hide its contempt for the recently formed nation of Israel, and Israel conversely has clearly stated its intent to protect itself from a nuclear Iran at all costs. The tightrope formed by the positions of both Iran and Israel is one which appears nearly impossible for the White House to successfully navigate.
The introduction of the recent proposal offers one possible answer. That suggestion is to cast the weight of the US firmly behind Israel’s right to preemptively protect itself from a nuclear Iran, while putting new sanctions in place to deter that possibility. Critics of the new legislation however favor a more neutral negotiating approach, decrying the proposed carte blanche support of Israel and painting it as “un-American.”
While the new resolution appears to have bipartisan support, critics say that the new proposal, instead of insuring Iran’s compliance, could scuttle negotiations already underway. Supporters are saying stand with Israel and use the threat of sanctions to insure compliance from Iran.
Time will prove which approach will win the day.
By Daniel Worku