Iran-Sanctions Bill May Morph Into Non-Binding Resolution

Global Security Newswire Staff
Jan. 28, 2014, 5:25 a.m.

U.S. le­gis­lat­ors are con­sid­er­ing a less am­bi­tious al­tern­at­ive to an Ir­an-sanc­tions bill that has failed to come to a vote, Re­u­ters re­ports.

Demo­crats in the Sen­ate de­cided against press­ing Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id (D-Nev.) to al­low floor con­sid­er­a­tion of the earli­er sanc­tions pro­pos­al, le­gis­lat­ive staffers told the wire ser­vice on Monday. That bill, called the Nuc­le­ar Weapon-Free Ir­an Act, now has 59 back­ers in the up­per cham­ber.

Law­makers in both cham­bers of Con­gress are in talks on a po­ten­tial new text for a non-bind­ing res­ol­u­tion that would im­plore dip­lo­mats to as­sume spe­cif­ic stances in nuc­le­ar ne­go­ti­ations with Ir­an, the Cap­it­ol Hill in­siders said. Some U.S. law­makers are press­ing for Tehran’s as­sent to giv­ing up a wide range of as­sets rel­ev­ant to a po­ten­tial nuc­le­ar-arms pro­gram, in­clud­ing an un­fin­ished heavy-wa­ter re­act­or and all urani­um en­rich­ment.

The con­gres­sion­al staffers ad­ded, though, that the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is likely to chafe even at a non-man­dat­ory state­ment from Con­gress. The White House threatened to block the earli­er sanc­tions pro­pos­al on grounds that it could en­danger dip­lomacy in­ten­ded to se­cure en­dur­ing re­stric­tions on Ir­an’s dis­puted atom­ic pro­gram.

Ir­a­ni­an en­voys are tent­at­ively slated to hold new atom­ic dis­cus­sions in New York next month with coun­ter­parts from the five per­man­ent U.N. Se­cur­ity Coun­cil mem­ber na­tions and Ger­many, U.S. State De­part­ment spokes­wo­man Mar­ie Harf said this week in com­ments re­por­ted by al-Mon­it­or. The talks are aimed at se­cur­ing a broad­er, longer-term suc­cessor to a Novem­ber deal in which Ir­an agreed to re­strict cer­tain atom­ic activ­it­ies for half a year.

On Tues­day, the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is­sued a run­down of short-term sanc­tions curbs it would provide to Ir­an un­der the in­ter­im nuc­le­ar ac­cord, which took ef­fect last week. Tehran main­tains that its atom­ic ef­forts are strictly peace­ful, but Wash­ing­ton and its al­lies fear the activ­it­ies could lead to de­vel­op­ment of an Ir­a­ni­an nuc­le­ar-weapon cap­ab­il­ity.

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