Fifty US senators line up behind new Iran sanctions bill

Support among Senate members for new Iran sanctions bill has doubled since the measure was introduced last month.

January 7, 2014 21:25
2 minute read.

Bushehr nuclear power plant south of Tehran.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


WASHINGTON -- Support among Senate members for a new sanctions bill against Iran has doubled since the measure was introduced last month.

50 senators across party lines now co-sponsor the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act of 2013, according to multiple Senate aides, who expect support to increase in the coming days. That amounts to half of all Senate members, just one shy of the number required for a bill to pass.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Robert Menendez introduced the bill just before Christmas with 25 co-sponsors. The move was an affront to the Obama administration, which fears the bill could derail fragile nuclear talks among Iran, the US and world powers.

If enacted, the bill would provide the president with a window of up to a year to negotiate a final settlement with Iran over its controversial nuclear program. Iran would also have to comply with an interim agreement forged between its government and the P5+1 powers— the US, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany— that effectively halts uranium enrichment and construction on its Arak plutonium reactor in exchange for modest sanctions relief.

Should Iran fail to meet either of these terms, new sanctions would trigger against the Islamic Republic that would include harsh penalties for countries still importing Iranian oil, including US allies, requiring they cut at least 30 percent of their purchases within months of enactment.

One senior Senate aide told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that a vote is "fully expected" on the measure, despite suggestions from the White House that the bill would not reach the floor.

"We don't think this action is necessary," White House press secretary Jay Carney said on December 19. "We don't think it will be enacted. If it were enacted, the president would veto it.”


But another aide familiar with the bill thought a path forward was possible between Senate leadership—including Menendez and senators Charles Schumer and Mark Kirk, who co-authored the bill—and the White House.

"Rhetoric aside, everyone can get something here," the aide told the Post. "The administration gets up to a year of flexibility to negotiate, Iran gets its limited sanctions relief and Congress gets the insurance policy we've been seeking." In the House of Representatives, Republican leadership scheduled floor time for Iran legislation this month. Democratic whip Steny Hoyer and Republican majority leader Eric Cantor have jointly written a resolution framed in support of the Senate measure.

Senator Tim Johnson, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, which typically reviews sanctions legislation, said on Monday that the bill would not proceed through his committee, and would have to take an alternative route to the Senate floor.

Johnson said he believed warnings from US Secretary of State John Kerry that negotiations with Iran would "collapse" if the Senate passed the bill, even if it is "tentative" in nature.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Bushehr nuclear Iranian
August 5, 2014
Iran and the bomb: The future of negotiations