WASHINGTON – US senators are pushing forward with a new sanctions package
against Iran despite the victory of moderate Hassan Rohani in last week’s
election, sources tell The Jerusalem Post.
Language for the Senate bill
is expected to be completed in the next month, while matching legislation in the
House of Representatives will likely see a vote before the July 4
The bill aims to bring Iranian oil exports to zero and close
The choice of Rohani, a cleric who has served as
chief negotiator with the West over Iran’s nuclear program and effectively as a
national security adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has been
approached with cautious optimism on Capitol Hill. Senate aides point to a
series of speeches from the presidentelect made in the early 2000s, in which he
outlines a tactic of the regime that treats negotiations with Western powers as
a ploy to buy time for progress on its nuclear program.
Sen. Mark Kirk
(R-Illinois) tweeted Tuesday that Rohani was “hand picked” by the supreme leader
and the Guardian Council. Kirk called his overtures to the West “clear”
“With time running out, the Senate should move forward with
toughest sanctions possible,” he tweeted. “Rope-a-dope talks not an
The power of sanctions comes not from legislation, but from
enforcement, another aide said. On that principle, leading senators on the issue
cannot predict how the White House will change its actions going
The Obama administration has remained relatively quiet on
Rohani’s election, only congratulating the Iranian people for turning out under
difficult circumstances and calling for “direct talks” with their new leader
over the country’s nuclear program, which has progressed substantially since the
last round of talks.
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