Saturday, December 21, 2013

Hardline Dems Line Up Behind 'Dangerous' Iran Sanctions Bill

Phyllis Bennis: 'This puts the world at risk of another war'

Sarah Lazare 
(Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Powerful Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) In what critics are slamming as a dangerous nudge towards war with Iran, two powerful Senate Democrats have joined a hardline effort to pass stiff sanctions against Iran in open defiance of the White House and the Geneva interim agreement.

"This is incredibly dangerous. It puts the world at risk of another war," said Phyllis Bennis, senior fellow at Institute for Policy Studies, in an interview with Common Dreams. "These are people who prefer war to diplomacy. We're beginning a diplomatic process that seems to
have some potential. The idea that people would intentionally scuttle it to ratchet up tensions rather than ratcheting them down is outrageous."

The so-called Iran Nuclear Weapon Free Act of 2013 is set for introduction as early as this week by Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). A copy of the legislation is circulating around Washington according to numerous media reports.

The bill stipulates a harsh escalation of sanctions if the talks fail to bring an agreement in six months or Iran is deemed to violate the interim deal. It also expands sanctions already in effect while giving Obama the power to waive them by showing Congress every 30 days that Iran is meeting certain conditions.

Critics charge that this provision is in direct violation of an interim agreement reached in late November in Geneva that the U.S. will "refrain from imposing new nuclear-related sanctions" during the six-month period the agreement is in effect.

Read More