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November 30, 2015 / 18 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Congress’

‘Undecided’ Sen. Cardin Predicts Congress Will Back Obama on Iran Deal

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin said Tuesday he remains undecided on how to vote on the nuclear deal but that he is sure President Barack Obama will win the needed support in the Senate to prevent a veto-proof majority against the agreement.

Speaking to students at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University, Sen. Cardin did not name which Democratic senators will fall in line but said thematic number of 34 will be reached by the end of the week.

The Associated Press said that Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware is scheduled to talk about the deal later today and probably will support President Obama.

Cardin is facing intense pressure from Jewish voters in Maryland to vote against the agreement. He is a member of Baltimore’s largest modern Orthodox synagogue that generally is very supportive of Israel.

31st Democratic Senator Backs Iran Deal

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

President Barack Obama on Sunday won the support of the 31st Democratic senator out of the 34 he needs to prevent a veto-proof majority against the nuclear agreement,

The latest to fall in line is Oregon’s Sen. Jeff Merkley, who announced:

Because of these shortcomings [in the deal], many have argued that the United States, instead of implementing the agreement, should withdraw from it, persuade our partners to set the agreement aside and work together to negotiate a better deal.

However, the prospects for this are slim. All of our partners … believe that the current deal — in regard to its central goal of blocking Iran’s pathways to a nuclear bomb — is sound. They have committed the good faith of their governments behind the agreement and intend to honor the deal as long as Iran does likewise, with or without the United States.

The momentum in President Obama’s favor may make the numbers game even worse for the opponents of the agreement. Key undecided senators, such as Maryland’s Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski, will have a harder time opposing the agreement, which would mean paying a heavy political price, if they know that there is no chance of defeating it.

Iranian President Says Nuclear Deal a ‘Non-Committal Agreement’

Saturday, August 29th, 2015

Iran has given U.S. Congressmen the perfect reason to oppose the nuclear deal by saying that the Iranian parliament should not make it a legal obligation for the Islamic Republic.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told a news conference Saturday that the deal is only a political understanding, and he urged parliament not to vote on it so that it does not become a legal obligation.

Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported Saturday:

President Hassan Rouhani underlined that Joint Comprehensive of Action (JCPOA) does not need the Majlis (Iranian parliament) approval for its implementation.

‘Under the Iranian Constitution, a treaty has to be submitted for approval or disapproval to the Parliament if it has been signed by the president or a representative of his,’ President Rouhani said, addressing a press conference in Tehran on Saturday.

‘That is not the case about the Iran-Group 5+1 nuclear agreement or the JCPOA,’ the Iranian president added.

Rouhani emphasized that parliamentary approval of the JCPOA would mean that he has to sign it, “an extra legal commitment that the administration has already avoided,” according to IRNA.

The Associated Press added that Rouhani said:

Why should we place an unnecessary legal restriction on the Iranian people?

President Barack Obama needs only four more Democratic senators to back the bill in order to prevent a veto-proof majority if Congress rejects the agreement.

If the agreement is approved, the United States will be obligated to honor it unless it can catch Iran cheating, a process that could involved months or even a year.

On the other side of the ocean, Rouhani has made it clear that the deal has no legal standing in Iran.

Sen. Cotton to Visit Israel for More Ammunition against Iran Deal

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Sen. Tom Cotton, one of the loudest voices against the nuclear deal with Iran, will arrive in Israel on Sunday for a week-long visit that can be assumed is aimed at arming him with more ammunition to try to shoot down the nuclear Iran agreement in the Senate.

The Israel government announced:

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) will be visiting Israel from Sunday, August 30, to Saturday, September 5, 2015.  During his trip to Israel, the Senator will be updated on strategic and diplomatic issues, as well as other major developments in the region.

Senator Cotton, in office as of January 2015, serves on the Armed Services, Intelligence, and Banking committees.

Updating him on “strategic and diplomatic issues” just before Congress returns from a summer recess with the Iran deal the number one item on the agenda means that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will send Sen. Cotton back with a suitcase full of arguments to try to win a veto-proof majority against the deal when it comes for a vote.

Sen. Cotton was behind the controversial letter that he and several senators sent to Iran to “inform” it that a nuclear deal would not be binding on the next president.

Earlier this month, he told Israeli reporters that the Obama administration has not made it clear to Iran that it could use force to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. He then said that the U.S. Armed Forces could bomb Iran’s nuclear program “back to zero.”

Sen. Corker stated:

You can destroy facilities. I don’t think any military expert in the United States or elsewhere would say the U.S. military is not capable to setting Iran’s nuclear facilities back to day zero,

Can we eliminate it forever? No, because any advanced industrialized country can develop nuclear weapons in four to seven years, from zero. But we can set them back to day zero.

That is music to the ears of Prime Minister Netanyahu, and the timing of next week’s visit is not coincidental.

The Prime Minister and President Barack Obama are desperately campaigning against and for the deal, respectively.

Media continue to report more evidence that the deal is full of holes and that Iran already is has taken moves to get around it, such as the report Thursday that it has built an addition to its Parchin nuclear facility.

However, party loyalty usually is paramount to intellectual honesty. New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer came out against the deal and promptly faced a campaign prevent him from becoming the next party leader in the Senate to succeed retiring Sen. Harry Reid, who backs the deal.

Even Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker admits that Obama will win. He told The Tennessean:

Understand that at this moment it looks very unlikely that we’ll have a veto-proof majority to disapprove, but I know we’re going to have a bipartisan majority that will disapprove.

The Hill reported that President Obama lacks only five out of 15 undecided Democratic senators to prevent a veto-proof majority against the agreement.

Obama and Biden Running after the Jews to Back ‘ObamaDeal’

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

President Barack Obama is beginning to sweat over diminishing Jewish support for the deal with Iran, especially among Congressmen.

He and Vice-president Joe Biden are shifting into high gear to convince Jews to persuade their Representatives and Senators to vote for “ObamaDeal.”

Several Jewish senators already are in the “no” camp and key Jewish Sen. Ben Cardin on the fence, and a continuing drop of support for the deal in the polls is turning the Jews into the best friends Obama ever had.

Biden is scheduled to meet with American Jewish leaders in Florida next week in an event whose organizers include Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who heads the Democratic National Committee. She has not yet announced whether she will vote for or against the deal.

President Obama is scheduled to connect with Jews with a webcast Friday. Although it is long-shot that the Senate or the House of Representatives can come up with a veto-proof majority against the deal, the  president is not taking any chances.

The webcast will be viewed through the site of the Jewish Federations of North America..More than a dozen local Federations have come out against the agreement with Iran, and approximately 100 or more have been non-committal.

The webcast is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. tomorrow, and pre-registration is available here.

The organization, in a carefully worded and neutral statement, wrote on its website:

We are hopeful that diplomatic efforts will prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, and we appreciate the hard work President Obama, Secretary of State Kerry, and Under Secretary of State Sherman have put into crafting this agreement.

At the same time, we are concerned. Iran’s support for Hezbollah and Hamas, its human rights violations and its aggressive threats toward neighboring countries—including Israel—make the specter of a nuclear-armed Iran untenable.

President Barack Obama and his administration have repeatedly said that any deal with Iran must shut down Iran’s uranium enrichment pathway to a weapon, cut off all four of Iran’s potential pathways to a bomb, and track Iran’s nuclear activities with unprecedented transparency and robust inspections throughout its nuclear supply chain. We agree.

We urge Congress to give this accord its utmost scrutiny.

The Federations earlier this month provided Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with a platform to speak out against the deal.

The  Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which is a co-sponsor of Friday’s webcast, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) have announced their opposition to ObamaDeal.

J Street supports it.

Key Democratic Senators Cardin and Mikulski Still on the Fence on Iran

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

Two Democratic U.S. senators from Maryland – Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski – remain undecided about the agreement. Cardin is the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Congress is in the midst of a 60-day period to review the Obama administration-brokered Iran nuclear deal.

While it is expected that virtually all 54 Republicans in the Senate will vote against the Iran deal, 67 anti-deal votes are needed to override President Barack Obama’s veto of a possible Congressional rejection of the pact. The only two Senate Democrats who have publicly come out against the agreement so far are Sens. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Robert Menendez (N.J.).

Asked where Cardin stands on the nuclear deal, and whether or not his decision will be affected by the recent report that the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog made a side agreement with Iran that allows the Islamic Republic to carry out its own inspections at the Parchin nuclear site, Cardin spokesperson Sue Walitsky said the senator told JNS:

[He] continues to review all aspects of the agreement to determine what decision he’ll make.

He continues to study the details of this deal, reach out to experts for answers to his many questions, and engage Marylanders to get their thoughts.

There is great intensity on all sides of this issue, but the feedback has been decidedly mixed. He believes that each senator and member of Congress has to make his or her own decision based on what is right for our country—not party, not president, but the national security of the United States of America.

He does not plan to rush his decision based on what others may decide.

When contacted by JNS.org, Mikulski’s office said the senator is currently traveling and unable to return a request for comment.

Treasury Official Explains How US Will Stop Iranian Terror Financing

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

The U.S. says it will continue targeting Iranian support for terror even with the nuclear deal that is set to lift sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

U.S. Treasury acting undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes Adam Szubin testified Wednesday before a Senate Banking Committee on the matter along with Wendy Sherman, undersecretary of state for public affairs.

Szubin said it will take at least six to nine months for Iran to fulfill the necessary conditions for initial sanctions relief to begin. “It will take until at least 2022 — even with sanctions relief — for Iran to get back to where it would have been absent our sanctions,” he claimed. “Iran has foregone approximately $160 billion in oil revenue alone since 2012, after our sanctions reduced Iran’s oil exports by 60 percent. This money is lost and cannot be recovered,” Szubin said in written testimony.

In addition, if Iran is found to be violating any of its commitments under the deal, U.S. sanctions could be reimposed “in a matter of days,” he maintained.

“When the JCPOA goes into effect, there will be no immediate relief from UN, EU, or U.S. sanctions. There is no ‘signing bonus.’ Only if Iran fulfills the necessary nuclear conditions—which will roll back its nuclear program and extend its breakout time five-fold to at least one year—will the United States lift sanctions. We expect that to take at least six to nine months. Until Iran completes those steps, we are simply extending the limited relief that has been in place for the last year and a half under the Joint Plan of Action. There will not be a cent of new sanctions relief.

“Upon “Implementation Day,” when phased relief would begin, the United States will lift nuclear- related secondary sanctions targeting third-country parties conducting business with Iran, including in the oil, banking, and shipping sectors. These measures were imposed in response to the security threat from Iran’s nuclear program; accordingly, they will be suspended in exchange for verifiable actions to alleviate that threat.

“As we phase in nuclear-related sanctions relief, we will maintain and enforce significant sanctions that fall outside the scope of this deal, including our primary U.S. trade embargo. Our embargo will continue to prohibit U.S. persons from investing in Iran, importing or exporting to Iran most goods and services, or otherwise dealing with most Iranian persons and companies.

“Iranian banks will not be able to clear U.S. dollars through New York, hold correspondent account relationships with U.S. financial institutions, or enter into financing arrangements with U.S. banks. Nor will Iran be able to import controlled U.S.-origin technology or goods, from anywhere in the world. In short, Iran will continue to be denied access to the world’s principal financial and commercial market. The JCPOA provides for only minor exceptions to this broad prohibition.”

“As we address the most acute threat posed by Iran, its nuclear program, we will be aggressively countering the array of Iran’s other malign activities,” Szubin went on.

“The JCPOA in no way limits our ability to do so, and we have made our posture clear to both Iran and to our partners. This means that the United States will maintain and continue to vigorously enforce our powerful sanctions targeting Iran’s backing for terrorist groups such as Hezbollah.

“In the last two months alone, for example, we designated 11 Hezbollah military officials and affiliated companies and businessmen. We will also continue our campaign against Hezbollah’s sponsors in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force; Iran’s support to the Houthis in Yemen; its backing of Assad’s regime in Syria; and its domestic human rights abuses. We will also maintain the U.S. sanctions against Iran’s missile program and the IRGC writ large.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/treasury-official-explains-how-us-will-stop-iranian-terror-financing/2015/08/05/

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