In the near term, the Obama administration does not yet need to engage Senators Menendez, Kirk, and Schumer on the details of their proposed Nuclear Weapon Free Act of 2013. The upcoming congressional recess and the protection of friendly senators (including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Chairman of the Senate Banking and Finance Committee Tim Johnson) are likely to delay consideration of the bill for the time being. However, congressional support for sanctions legislation against Iran has strong bipartisan support, and pressure for additional legislation is likely to grow if – as seems likely – it becomes apparent in coming months that negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran on a final agreement are not faring well. In the event that the Obama administration is forced to enter into negotiations with Congress on new sanctions legislation, the White House is likely to have several objections to the proposed Senate legislation, especially on the certification requirements to waive or suspend sanctions.
See my previous post for a summary and interpretation of the text of the sanctions bill. In this post I address the Obama administration's most likely objections.
News broke yesterday that three prominent senators—Menendez (D-NJ), Kirk (R-IL), and Schumer (D-NY)—may introduce legislation this year that would impose new sanctions against Iran with a “deferred trigger.” That is, the new sanctions can be averted only if the Obama administration provides specific and difficult certifications every 30 days including that Iran is implementing the terms of the November 24 Joint Plan of Action and negotiating “in good faith” toward a final deal. Based on an advance copy of the “Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013,” I summarize the substance of the draft legislation, including both the new proposed sanctions and the complicated set of presidential certifications and notifications to waive existing sanctions and suspend the additional sanctions. In a second post, I examine the current legislative state of play and the likely administration objections to the draft legislation.
Graham Allison and Gary Samore gather the best arguments in favor of easing sanctions on Iran to facilitate a permanent nuclear deal—and the best arguments by those who want to strengthen sanctions on Iran.
A grand bargain with Iran should be far easier to reach than with North Korea. . . . North Koreans and Americans cannot forget their bloody encounters from 1950 to 1953. Iran and the United States, by contrast, have never fought. Their disputes have been less serious than those that drove the U.S.-Soviet Cold War. Americans have far more in common with Iranians than with North Koreans. But will this heritage ease the task of negotiating the next steps and living with a more extensive agreement if signed?
As the new government of Iranian President Rouhani celebrates the temporary Geneva nuclear deal, an extremely dim picture is emerging of the drastic costs to Iran from pursuing a nuclear program under the cloud of domestic economic mismanagement and international sanctions. The IMF just released its final economic and financial statistics for 2013 and the Iranian numbers are appalling and extremely worrying for the stability of the current government.
During the fall I lived at home in Belmont, MA and volunteered with Horizons for Homeless Children, took cake decorating classes, took a class on "Law and Ethics" at the Harvard Extension School, tutored/nanny-ed, and visited friends at their colleges. In the spring I travelled to Bolivia and Peru for 13 weeks with "Where There Be Dragons". My favorite memory was definitely living with homestay families in the Andes of Bolivia as well as visiting Machu Picchu. I took a year off after being accepted deferred at Harvard and it turned out to be the best "blessing in disguise".