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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Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
“We haven’t seen a true leftist since FDR, so many millions are coming out of the woodwork to vote for Bernie Sanders; he is the Occupy movement now come to life in the political arena.” So says Bill Maher in his Hollywood Reporter cover story (more a stream-of-consciousness riff than an essay, actually). Conservative states may never vote for a socialist in the general election, but “this stuff has never been on the table, and these voters have never been activated.” Maher saves most of his bile for Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, writing that by nominating Palin as vice president “John McCain is the one who opened the Book of the Dead and let the monsters out.” And Trump is picking up where Palin left off.