US Senator: Sanctions bill is 'insurance policy' to Iran nuclear talks

Senator Menendez says new bill would bolster diplomacy with Tehran, not threaten, spelling out consequences to failure of talks.

January 10, 2014 23:03
2 minute read.
Prime Minister Netanyahu meeting with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez.

Prime Minister Netanyahu meeting with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez.. (photo credit: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)


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 - A Democratic US senator leading the charge to pass new sanctions on Iran despite objections from the Obama administration said on Friday the measure is a "diplomatic insurance policy" to push Tehran to comply with agreements to curtail its nuclear program.

Fifty-nine senators - 16 of them Democrats - of the 100 in the chamber were co-sponsoring the bill, despite the White House's insistence that it could imperil delicate international negotiations with the Islamic Republic.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Senator Robert Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, disputed that in an op-ed published in The Washington Post on Friday, saying the bill would bolster diplomacy, not threaten it.

"The proposed legislation is a clarifying action," he wrote.

"It allows all sides to negotiate in certainties and provides one year of space for the parties to continue talking. It spells out precisely the consequences should the agreement fail. This should motivate Iranians to negotiate honestly and seriously," he said.

Menendez is the main sponsor of the "Nuclear Free Iran Weapon Act," which would impose new sanctions on Tehran if it breaks an agreement to curb its nuclear program. The White House has threatened a veto, and Iran has said an interim nuclear agreement would be dead if Congress imposes new sanctions.

The bill would also place sanctions on Iran if it does not agree to a comprehensive deal later this year or next. The United States and five other world powers agreed to a six-month interim deal with Iran in Geneva in November that can be extended to a year.


White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Friday the administration still feels the proposed bill would be harmful.

"It could, if they were to do it, actually weaken the sanctions structure that's in place by undermining faith among our international partners and providing Iran the opportunity to say that we have been negotiating in bad faith," Carney said at a daily news briefing.

The 59 co-sponsors mean the bill is near the 60 votes needed to pass most legislation in the Senate and the 67 necessary to overcome a presidential veto. But there has been no indication from Democrat Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, on when it would come to the floor for a vote.

Separately, US Representative Eliot Engel said he was "deeply troubled" about a report that Russia is negotiating an oil-for-goods swap with Iran, saying it raises questions about Moscow's commitment to the negotiations to end Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Reuters reported on Friday that the deal being negotiated is worth $1.5 billion a month, and would let Iran raise its oil exports by up to 500,000 barrels per day. US and European sanctions on Iran's disputed nuclear program have combined to cut Iran's oil exports by about 1 million bpd.

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