WASHINGTON -- Defying the Obama administration, Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Robert Menendez introduced a bill on Thursday that, if passed, would trigger harsh new sanctions against Iran should its government fail to reach a comprehensive agreement with world powers over its nuclear program.
The bill, the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013, has 25 cosponsors across party lines, including Senators Chuck Schumer, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Bob Casey, Marco Rubio, Chris Coons, John Cornyn, Kirsten Gillibrand and Bob Corker.
“Current sanctions brought Iran to the negotiating table, and a credible threat of future sanctions will require Iran to cooperate and act in good faith at the negotiating table,” Menendez said in a statement. “Prospective sanctions will influence Iran’s calculus and accelerate that process toward achieving a meaningful diplomatic resolution.”
The decision to move forward with the bill may be more political than practical: with just days left in the congressional session before members recess for the holiday, Menendez and the bill's co-author, Mark Kirk, have no realistic chance of getting a vote before the new year.