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.”
What We're Following See More »
"President Trump is expected to announce that Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci will be White House communications director, according to two sources familiar with the planning. Trump has left the role open since Mike Dubke resigned in May, and the President has vented frequently to his friends about the performance of his press operation." According to NBC News, Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus are resisting the move.
"President Donald Trump's second-quarter job approval rating has fallen below what any other past president has gotten during the same time frame. A new Gallup poll found that Trump averaged a 38.8% rating between April 20 and July 19. The average approval rating for that time is 62%. President Obama was at the average during this time period, as was President Nixon. President Clinton is the only president who was below 50% by the second quarter, coming in with a 44% approval rating." There is also a large partisan gap. "Just 8% of Democrats approved of Trump's job performance during the second quarter, but 85% of Republicans did. Approval ratings have become increasingly polarized in recent administrations, but the 77-point gap for Trump is a new record."
"The US government will soon prohibit American citizens from traveling to North Korea, according to two tour groups that cater to Western tourists who want to visit the secretive country. The US will announce the ban within a couple of days, said Simon Cockerell, general manager of Beijing-based Koryo Tours. The agency was informed of the development by officials of the Swedish government, which represents America's interests in North Korea, he told CNN."
"Federal arts and humanities programs targeted for elimination by the Trump administration would get a lifeline from House appropriators willing to ignore the president’s proposal and keep them running. The $31.5 billion fiscal 2018 Interior-Environment spending bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday includes $145 million for the National Endowment for the Arts. While that’s still a 3.2 percent cut from the fiscal year 2017 enacted level, it is more than $116 million above Trump’s budget request. The National Endowment for the Humanities would receive $145 million in fiscal 2018, which is $103.7 million above the White House budget request."
"The White House’s Office of Management and Budget detailed Thursday how it would jettison hundreds of existing or planned regulations as part of its larger push to ease federal restrictions on the private sector, upending federal policies on labor, the environment and public health. ... The Trump administration said it was pulling or suspending 860 pending regulations."