Key U.S. senators are resisting the Obama administration’s calls for delaying legislation that would expand economic sanctions against Iran while international talks are under way to diffuse tensions surrounding the Middle Eastern nation’s nuclear program, according to Bloomberg.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said he still supports proceeding with an Iran sanctions bill even after meeting on Thursday with Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.
“I’d have to hear something far more substantive from what I heard today to dissuade me” from acting on legislation, Menendez told reporters, according to the wire service.
The Republican-led House of Representatives passed legislation in July that would broaden economic constraints, and the Senate Banking Committee has been expected to present a similar bill that would blacklist Iran’s mining and construction sectors. Yet Obama, hopeful that the ongoing diplomatic talks with Iran will prove successful, has dispatched senior officials to Capitol Hill to seek a delay in any move to add sanctions.
Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) on Thursday said he did not expect any positive outcome of talks scheduled for next week in Geneva between Iran and the so-called “P-5+1” — United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany.
“Sanctions are the only way to prevent a war,” Kirk reportedly said.
Other senators, including Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), were more open to holding off on new sanctions.
“I think after 10 years of bitter confrontation, sanctions and all of the inflamed rhetoric, that it makes sense for us to be thoughtful on how and when we respond to the Iranians,” Durbin said, according to Agence France-Presse.
Biden on Friday defended the administration’s desire for delaying the legislation on Friday.
“No one is suggesting an open-ended delay for new sanctions, and there may come a point where additional sanctions are necessary,” the vice president’s office said in a statement, according to AFP.
“At the same time, it is important for Congress to reserve its ability to legislate for the moment when it’s most effective in order to give the current P5+1 negotiations the best chance to make real progress in achieving our shared goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” Biden’s office said.
On Thursday technical experts from Iran and the P-5+1 nations completed two days of talks in advance of the high-profile gathering of senior diplomats from the countries in Geneva on Nov. 7 and 8.
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."