Free Headline Alerts     
Worldwide Web


Friday, June 25, 2010     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Congress passes new Iran sanctions, but gives Obama waiver power

WASHINGTON — Congress has approved new U.S. sanctions against Iran with legislation that reserves for President Obama the right to waive the sanctions on a case-by-case basis.


The sanctions, passed by the House and Senate on June 24, were meant to target Iran's banking and energy sectors. Under the legislation, passed about two weeks after sanctions by the United Nations Security Council, foreign companies with links to Iranian energy projects and banks would also be banned from doing business in the United States.

At one point, the White House pressed the Democratic leadership in Congress to grant Obama the power to grant blanket exemptions from sanctions. Instead, the bill would allow the president to waive sanctions on companies on a case-by-case basis for no more than a year.

Also In This Edition

Congressional aides said the bill was meant to block gasoline exports to Iran. They said gasoline suppliers could be blocked from the U.S. banking system in what could prevent them from doing business in many parts of the world.

"The UN sanctions, though a good first step, are quite tepid," Sen. Barbara Mikulski said. "The United States therefore has to pass these unilateral sanctions."

The Senate voted 99-0 for the sanctions. Hours later, the House approved identical legislation by a vote of 408-8.

"This is the most significant legislation passed on Iran to date," Rep. Brad Sherman, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, said. "Once signed into law, it will take a number of steps to significantly increase the economic pressure on Iran. Companies that participate in the development or maintenance of Iran’s energy sector or sell gasoline to Iran will face stiff penalties."

"The illicit nuclear activities of the government of Iran, combined with its development of unconventional weapons and ballistic missiles and its support for international terrorism, represent a threat to the security of the United States, its strong ally Israel, and other allies of the United States around the world," the bill, titled "Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010," said.

The sanctions would also penalize foreign banks that work with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. IRGC has been deemed as the unit that directs Iran's strategic programs, including ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.

"Because of this legislation, we will be posing a choice to companies around the world," Sen. John McCain said. "Do you want to do business with Iran, or do you want to do business with the United States? We don't think that's much of a choice, but we will force companies to make it."

About Us     l    Contact Us     l     l
Copyright © 2010    East West Services, Inc.    All rights reserved.