barak hilary 311.
(photo credit: AP)
WASHINGTON – US House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Howard Berman expressed
optimism Wednesday that “the most comprehensive sanctions related to Iran” would
be approved before the July 4 recess.
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After weeks of wrangling between
House and Senate members, the final draft of the bill was due to be filed later
Wednesday, with votes likely this week, Berman said.
He added that the
White House, which has expressed reservations about the bill, was heavily
consulted, and that he expected the president would sign the legislation when it
reached his desk.
“I would argue we’ve been like two people who want to
achieve the same goal,” Berman said. “We had some differences. We spent a lot of
time working through those differences and that we are...partners on
While agreeing on a shared goal, the White House has long
indicated that it has concerns with the bills. Just Tuesday, US Under-Secretary
of State William Burns told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the
administration would still like further discussions on the matter.
no secret that our international partners contain their enthusiasm for
extra-territorial applications of US legislation, and that’s why we continue to
work closely with you and your colleagues to try to ensure that the measures are
going to be targeted in a way that maximizes the goal here,” he told the
One of the most contentious issues has been whether the bill would
grant an exemption to “cooperating countries” – those nations the administration
believes to be helping in the effort to sanction Teheran – to avoid alienating
While countries are not exempted outright, the
compromise version allows the administration to waive sanctions on a
case-by-case basis, although Berman stressed that the decision would need to be
made publicly on behalf of the named companies and countries.
counts, however, it is tougher than the original, adding sanctions
Iranian human rights violations, financial transactions to Iranian banks
involved with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, and targeting
including insurance and shipping, thus going far beyond the original
focus on barring refined petroleum imports.
“It is by far, by far, the
most comprehensive sanctions related to Iran that we have ever
entertained and –
I think we can say – have passed,” Berman told reporters on a conference
He acknowledged the poor track record of enforcement of previous
sanctions – those Congress passed in the mid- 1990s triggered just one
investigation, which then was waived – but maintained that this measure
He said that now, investigations of companies would be
automatic, with the administration having the authority