Congress Eyes New Iran Terror Sanctions After Failed Push on Nuclear Penalties

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Global Security Newswire Staff
Global Security Newswire Staff
March 28, 2014, 10:04 a.m.

A stalled U.S. push to ad­vance new nuc­le­ar sanc­tions against Ir­an has law­makers mulling how to hit it with ter­ror­ism-re­lated pen­al­ties in­stead, al-Mon­it­or re­ports.

A pro­pos­al to fur­ther ex­act a cost on Ir­an for sup­port­ing Hezbol­lah has been un­der con­sid­er­a­tion at the House For­eign Af­fairs Com­mit­tee for months, the pub­lic­a­tion said in a Thursday art­icle. However, the ini­ti­at­ive re­portedly gained new mo­mentum after Demo­crat­ic law­makers stopped push­ing to ad­vance sep­ar­ate le­gis­la­tion that would threaten new nuc­le­ar sanc­tions against the Middle East­ern na­tion.

The United States and five oth­er coun­tries agreed not to im­pose fresh atom­ic pen­al­ties against Ir­an for the dur­a­tion of a six-month atom­ic deal that took ef­fect in Janu­ary. Any new nuc­le­ar sanc­tions, ac­cord­ing to Tehran, would prompt it to with­draw from an on­go­ing dia­logue over con­cerns about its nuc­le­ar pro­gram.

Ir­an ex­ten­ded that warn­ing to cov­er any sanc­tions that would be triggered if Tehran does not agree to spe­cif­ic terms in a po­ten­tial fi­nal nuc­le­ar ac­cord. The Per­sian Gulf power in­sists its atom­ic am­bi­tions are purely peace­ful, but has voiced open­ness to po­ten­tially ac­cept­ing long-term re­stric­tions on the ef­forts in re­turn for sanc­tions re­lief from the five per­man­ent U.N. Se­cur­ity Coun­cil mem­ber na­tions and Ger­many.

Pres­id­ent Obama pre­vi­ously is­sued a veto threat for the Nuc­le­ar Weapon Free Ir­an Act, one bill con­tain­ing Ir­an pen­al­ties. Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id (D-Nev.) sub­sequently blocked floor con­sid­er­a­tion of the pro­pos­al, which has 59 co-spon­sors.

Ac­cord­ing to one House staffer, Obama of­fi­cials “can’t say to Con­gress that we’re go­ing to blow up the nuc­le­ar ne­go­ti­ations by passing fur­ther au­thor­iz­a­tions for Hezbol­lah sanc­tions.”

Former U.S. Treas­ury De­part­ment Mat­thew Levitt, though, sug­ges­ted that a num­ber of Obama in­siders “would prob­ably not want to see it right now if it has any­thing to do with Ir­an at all.”

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