A senior Obama administration diplomat on Thursday pressed U.S. senators not to legislate new economic sanctions against Iran until after a multilateral meeting slated for later this month on the country’s nuclear program, The Hill newspaper reported.
“I would hope that you will allow us the time to begin these negotiations [with Iran] and see if, in fact, there is anything real here,” U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Iran would hear “quite directly that if there isn’t … everyone is ready to act,” added Sherman, Washington’s top envoy to talks between Iran and six negotiating powers.
The House of Representatives passed legislation in July that would expand economic constraints on non-U.S. companies doing business with Iran, and the Senate Banking Committee is preparing a similar Iran sanctions bill.
Sherman is concerned about the timing of Congress’ deliberations on such legislation because of a planned Oct. 15-16 meeting in Geneva over suspicions that Tehran’s atomic efforts are geared toward development of a nuclear-arms capability. Iran’s recently installed president has pledged to seek quick progress in the talks, which have dragged out for years in an on-and-off fashion.
Still, the House bill’s sponsor said the Senate should “pass sanctions legislation now.”
Doing so would “increase our negotiating leverage and deny Tehran the resources to continue its nuclear program,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said on Thursday in released comments.
Separately, Sherman said Washington’s implementation of existing Iran penalties has been “hampered significantly” since many government offices closed their doors on Tuesday, The Hill reported separately.
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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."
Conrad Burns, the colorful livestock auctioneer and radio executive from Montana who served three terms as a senator, died on Thursday at age 81. Burns "was ousted from office in 2006 under the specter of scandal after developing close ties to "super-lobbyist" Jack Abramoff," although no charges were ever filed.
In an exchange not ripped from the page of The Onion, Vice President Biden revealed to a Vatican cardinal that he's been betting reporters on which cars are faster. After meeting privately with Pope Francis, Biden met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State. Within moments of greeting one another, Biden said that he'd met with the pope and, gesturing to the press pool, "I've met with these guys too." Singling out reporter Gardiner Harris, who recounted the exchange, he said, "I had to pay this man $10. He's from the New York Times. We had a bet: which is the faster car, the newer Cadillac or the new [Tesla]. ... The Tesla's two tenths of a second faster. But I lost. I paid my $10." He joked that he's "seeking absolution."
Donald Trump held his first rally in California Thursday night, and things were chaotic: "Hundreds of demonstrators filled the street outside the Orange County amphitheater where ... stomping on cars, hurling rocks at motorists and forcefully declaring their opposition to the Republican presidential candidate. Traffic came to a halt as a boisterous crowd walked in the roadway, some waving American and Mexican flags. Protesters smashed a window on at least one police cruiser, punctured the tires of a police sport utility vehicle, and at one point tried to flip a police car."
Two powerful House members—Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Jeff Miller (R-FL)—are throwing their support behind Donald Trump.