<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> WorldTribune.com: Mobile U.S. sanctions on Iran have no teeth, diplomacy failing, Ros-Lehtinen charges
U.S. sanctions on Iran have no teeth, diplomacy failing, Ros-Lehtinen charges

Friday, September 12, 2008 Free Headline Alerts

JERUSALEM A key member of Congress said U.S. sanctions on Iran have not been enforced and are ineffective.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a former House Foreign Relations subcommittee chair, said U.S. and international sanctions on Teheran have failed to make a dent in Iran's nuclear program. In an address to the Institute for Contemporary Affairs, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen said sanctions approved by Congress has been ignored or diluted by the White House.

"U.S. sanctions have hindered Iran's ability to attract capital, materials, and technical support, and have created extensive and growing financial difficulties for the regime," Ms. Ros-Lehtinen said. "Yet, although Congress has repeatedly passed sanctions legislation which has been signed into law, its implementation has been watered down or ignored by successive administrations."

In an address on June 30, 2008, recently released by the institute, the House Republican said Iran's nuclear program could be stopped by a range of sanctions and other measures. But she said the Bush administration has decided to join the European Union rapprochement toward Iran while failing to apply U.S. sanctions.

"The Iranian regime's expanding political and military involvement across the Middle East and South Asia is a force to be reckoned with," Ms. Ros-Lehtinen said. "But in reality, the best way to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear capabilities is to impose strong sanctions on the regime and to do so now."

Over the last 12 years, Congress has imposed sanctions meant to block foreign investment in Iran's energy infrastructure. The House and Senate have also banned dual-use exports to Iran, including those nuclear material or technology.

"There have been so many legislative measures, but so little real action on the part of the U.S. in response to the Iranian regime's dangerous deeds," Ms. Ros-Lehtinen said. "The door has remained open for foreign investment in Iran no matter what destabilizing actions Iran has taken and the U.S. has done little, if anything, to stop such investment."

Ms. Ros-Lehtinen blamed China and Russia for blocking or severely weakening UN Security Council sanctions resolutions against Iran. Both Beijing and Moscow have been deemed leading contractors to Iran's missile and nuclear programs.

Over the last year, the State Department has been seeking waivers for U.S. sanctions on Iran. The department has refused to implement U.S. sanctions on foreign companies that invest $20 million into Iran's energy sector.

"Great damage has been done to the credibility of our policies toward Iran because we have passed legislation but did not put it into practice," Ms. Ros-Lehtinen said. "It is long past time for a better approach, one based on the true nature of the Iranian regime and the threat it poses to all of us."

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