Previous Iran Sanctions Cosponsor Won’t Back New Sanctions Now

Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., shakes hands with the Vice President and his wife Julie looks on. 
National Journal
Elahe Izad
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Elahe Izad
Jan. 16, 2014, 7 a.m.

An­oth­er Demo­crat­ic sen­at­or has come out pub­licly against a pro­posed set of new sanc­tions against Ir­an. This time, it’s Sen. Mar­tin Hein­rich of New Mex­ico.

Hein­rich, who co­sponsored sanc­tions le­gis­la­tion in the past, won’t sign on to an Ir­a­ni­an sanc­tions bill by Sens. Robert Men­en­dez and Mark Kirk, ac­cord­ing to his of­fice. Like the White House, Hein­rich wants to hold off on new sanc­tions while in­ter­na­tion­al ne­go­ti­at­ors work to­ward a com­pre­hens­ive agree­ment with Ir­an over its nuc­le­ar pro­gram.

“The U.S. in­tel­li­gence com­munity has made clear that ‘new sanc­tions would un­der­mine the pro­spects for a suc­cess­ful com­pre­hens­ive nuc­le­ar agree­ment with Ir­an.’ I re­main firmly com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing that Ir­an does not ac­quire a nuc­le­ar weapon and to ex­haust­ing every op­tion be­fore re­sort­ing to mil­it­ary force,” Hein­rich said in a state­ment. “The in­ter­im agree­ment made on Nov. 24, 2013 is such an op­tion.”

The sanc­tions le­gis­la­tion has 59 co­spon­sors, in­clud­ing 16 Demo­crat­ic back­ers. Kirk, an Illinois Re­pub­lic­an, has said he be­lieves there are more than 70 votes for the le­gis­la­tion, if Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id brings it to the floor for a vote. The White House has is­sued a veto threat. This week, oth­er pre­vi­ously mum Demo­crats, such as Sen. Tim Kaine of Vir­gin­ia, have pub­licly backed the White House po­s­i­tion.

Hein­rich said that, des­pite the in­ter­im deal with Ir­an, which be­gins next week and starts a six-month clock to­ward a fi­nal deal, “Ir­an must show that it is ser­i­ous and that it will abide by the com­mit­ments made to the in­ter­na­tion­al com­munity. Should it vi­ol­ate the terms of the agree­ment, I stand ready to sup­port the sanc­tions out­lined” in the pending sanc­tions bill.

In 2011, Ir­a­ni­an-sanc­tions le­gis­la­tion passed the Sen­ate 100-0.

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