The Norman Transcript

Nation/World

October 19, 2013

US considers Iran sanctions

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

“If Iran were to cheat in fulfilling any of its obligations, the quarantine would be re-imposed,” Dubowitz said. He contrasted his idea with the tactics employed earlier this year by the Obama administration, which, he said, offered Iran a major concession allowing Iran to sell petroleum abroad in exchange for gold.

“It ended up permitting Iran to earn billions of dollars in gold in exchange for no nuclear concessions,” Dubowtiz said.

As this week’s talks in Geneva finished Wednesday, demands in Congress grew for a speedy escalation in sanctions.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced a Senate resolution calling for more pressure, echoing a statement by six Democratic and four Republican senators insisting that Iran end all uranium enrichment activity.

That demand could put them at odds with Obama, who has recognized Iran’s right to nuclear energy as recently as September, when he spoke to Rouhani by phone. Obama, however, hasn’t said enrichment is acceptable in Iran, as Tehran demands. The issue remains a key one for international negotiators to resolve.

The sanctions debate is likely to continue between Congress and the administration ahead of another round of Iranian nuclear talks in November and in the months ahead.

The Senate Banking Committee is expected to take up a new sanctions package soon, largely mirroring a House bill that passed by a 400-20 vote in July. It seeks to blacklist Iran’s mining and construction sectors and calls for all Iranian oil sales to end by 2015.

The Senate’s bill may narrow that timeframe, block international investment in more economic sectors, try to close off Iran’s foreign accounts and tighten Obama’s ability to waive requirements for allies and key trading partners who continue to do business with Iran, according to an aide involved in the process.

The Obama administration has expressed concerns that countries may ignore sanctions they deem excessive, undercutting international unity against Iran. They’ve also expressed concern that moving too quickly with additional sanctions packages also could undermine Rouhani with hardliners in his own country and not give him adequate chance to prove his seriousness in the nuclear talks.

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