Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.
Despite the interim agreement between Iran and several world powers, which provides for a softening of sanctions in return for a curtailment of elements of the Iranian nuclear development program, many members of Congress have resisted calls from the White House to defer legislation that would impose increased sanctions on Iran should a satisfactory final agreement not be reached or the Iranians fail to adhere to the temporary deal.
But it is not just the passage of legislation authorizing a new round of sanctions that is needed. Rather it is legislation without the presidential waiver provisions that presidents in general, and President Obama in particular, regularly exploit.
The Obama administration has said that any new legislation, even with an operative date of six months up the road as some lawmakers are proposing, would likely scuttle any further talks with Iran. Indeed, Iran’s foreign minister has said “the entire deal is dead” in that eventuality.
In our view, though, Iran is not in a position to demand anything, and the prospect of increased sanctions should be placed vividly before its leaders. Nor should it be forgotten that it was the sanctions regime plus the threat of military action from the U.S. and Israel that brought Iran to the table in the first place.
To be sure, Secretary of State Kerry does make an additional point that has more resonance:
The risk is that if Congress were to unilaterally move to raise sanctions it could break faith in those negotiations and actually stop them and break them apart…. Germany, Great Britain, France…and Russia, China and the United States are all agreed on [the interim] proposal that’s on the table. If all of a sudden sanctions were to be increased, there are members of that coalition who have put it in place who would think that we are dealing in bad faith, and they would bolt. And then the sanctions would fall apart.
Ironically, however, it is the triumphalist tone adopted by Iranian leaders that likely will keep the coalition intact. No one relishes having his nose rubbed in the sand. And Mr. Kerry does himself no favors by appearing to downplay the well-grounded concerns of many lawmakers, especially when seen against the backdrop of the Obama administration’s continuing efforts at outreach to traditional adversaries of the U.S.
If history is any guide, an eventual compromise on legislation aimed at addressing Iranian recalcitrance will contain a clause that will effectively allow the president to determine whether Iranian compliance has been satisfactory. And history has also taught us that such provisions often vitiate the Congressional will and should be carefully considered.
An important example is the use of the so-called waiver power by three presidents in connection with the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act of 1995, passed by overwhelming majorities in both houses of Congress. Under its express terms, the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv had to be moved to Jerusalem by May 31, 1999, with severe restrictions on the State Department’s overseas expenditures should it not be moved.
However, it also provided that the president could avoid these restrictions if he determined, at six-month intervals, that the restrictions would adversely affect American security interests around the world. But the obligation to move the embassy would continue, despite the penalty for non-compliance having been waived.
Yet Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, like President Obama, regularly took the position that they were empowered to refuse to move the embassy by simply asserting every six months that national security would be jeopardized by the restrictions on State Department spending, a power nowhere to be found in the law.
Just last week Mr. Obama announced he was invoking the waiver power for another six months. If presidents can figuratively drive a truck through such a narrow opening, what is possible with a more generalized waiver power?
President Obama has also regularly invoked broader national security waivers in legislation restricting funding to the Palestinian Authority or to international agencies supporting the PA or terrorist groups.
In drafting any new Iran sanctions legislation, our elected representatives need to great care that the current president not be enabled to further indulge his fantasies about resetting U.S. relationships around the world.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
The decision to not publicly light the Menorah in Sydney, epitomizes the eternal dilemma of Judaism and Jews in the Diaspora.
Am Yisrael is one family, filled with excruciating pain&sorrow for losing the 4 kedoshim of Har Nof
What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.
Police play down Arab terrorism as mere “violence” until the truth can no longer be hidden.
The 7 branches of the menorah represent the 7 pillars of secular wisdom, knowledge, and science.
Obama obtained NO verifiable commitments from Cuba it would desist from acts prejudicial to the US
No one would deny that the program subjected detainees to less than pleasant treatment, but the salient point is, for what purpose?
For the past six years President Obama has consistently deplored all Palestinian efforts to end-run negotiations in search of a UN-imposed agreement on Israel.
It’s not an admiration. It is simply a kind of journalist fascination. It stands out, it’s different from more traditional Orthodoxy.
For Am Yisrael, the sun’s movements are subservient to the purpose of our existence.
Israelis now know Arab terrorism isn’t caused by Israeli occupation but by ending Israeli occupation
Anti-Semitism is a social toxin that destroys the things that people most cherish and enjoy.
Amb. Cooper highlighted the impact of the Chanukah/Maccabee spirit on America’s Founding Fathers
It seems to us that while the Jewish entitlement to the land of Israel transcends the Holocaust, the Jewish experience during that tragic time is the most solid of foundations for these “national rights.”
Last year the Obama administration sought to minimize civilian deaths from drone strikes by generally requiring that missile attacks be limited to instances where Americans were directly threatened and there was a “near certainty” that no civilians would be killed.
If anything, Operation Protective Edge showed that Israel will not pull punches when it comes to combating terror.
Toward the end of Operation Protective Edge this past summer, the president was unusually vocal about Israel’s so-called disproportionate use of force and alleged lack of compliance with international humanitarian law.
There was no accompanying caption, but the cartoon could not help but feed the anti-Semitic canard that Israel was responsible for 9/11.
An accomplished Torah scholar and ardent adherent of Bobov chassidus, he was renowned for his self-effacing dedication and skills as an international lawyer and law professor
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/iran-sanctions-legislation-the-waivers-the-thing/2013/12/11/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: