Obviously emboldened by his 2012 re-election victory, President Obama has announced his opposition to a new round of even harsher sanctions on Iran, even as Iran moves steadily toward development of nuclear weapons.
A bipartisan Senate measure from Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (D-IL) introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act; the Act passed 94-0 in the Senate. It would put sanctions on Iran’s energy, shipping, and shipbuilding, as well as preventing Iran from acquiring insurance. According to Foreign Policy, “The legislation would also vastly expand U.S. support for human rights inside Iran and impose new sanctions on Iranians who divert humanitarian assistance from its intended purpose.”
Menendez said, “The window is closing. The time for the waiting game is over. Yes, our sanctions are having a demonstrable effect on the Iranian economy, but Iran is still working just as hard to develop nuclear weapons."
But the White House doesn’t seem to care. Last night, National Security Spokesman Tommy Vietor told Foreign Policy, “As we focus with our partners on effectively implementing these efforts, we believe additional authorities now threaten to undercut these efforts. We also have concerns with some of the formulations as currently drafted in the text and want to work through them with our congressional partners to make the law more effective and consistent with the current sanctions law to ensure we don't undercut our success to date.”
The National Security Council legislative affairs office also wrote an email to Senate Democrats stating, “We do not believe additional authority to apply more sanctions on Iran is necessary at this time. At the same time, we are concerned that this amendment is duplicative and threatens to confuse and undermine some of the TRA provisions."
Score another one for radical Islamists. And score one for their tacit ally in the White House.