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December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Congress’

Report: Iran Balks over Centrifuges

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Iran is holding up progress for implementing the interim deal agreed to by world powers in November because of the issue of centrifuges that can be used to purify uranium to level that would make it suitable to make a nuclear weapon.

“This issue (centrifuges) was among the main factors in stopping the previous technical discussions on December 19-21,” a Western diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

That is exactly why there is a bi-partisan effort in Congress to pass a new bill that would place harsher sanctions on Iran if it reneges on the interim  agreement.

The sponsors of the bill, Democrats as well as Republicans, don’t trust Iran to have suddenly surrendered its nuclear program. President Barack Obama, who has put his weight behind “engaging” Iran diplomatically, has vowed to veto the bill if it is passed.

Iran said it has installed new and advanced centrifuges since the interim deal was reached, an issue that is to be discussed this week in meetings with the P5+1 countries.

“As part of the (November 24) agreement, Iran is permitted to engage in R&D (research and development), but that is tempered by the fact that it is prohibited to install new centrifuges, except as required by wear and tear,” one diplomats was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The interim deal is to be implemented on January 20 if Iran and the world powers can overcome disputes on the wording and meaning of the November agreement.

Reuters quoted an Israeli official as saying, “It was clear from the outset that the Iranians would play games. They did it in the past, and now they’re up to their old tricks again.”

Congressional Budget Deal Includes Funds for Iron Dome

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Chairmen of the Senate and House of Representatives budget committees have proposed a budget deal that would restore $220 million for two more Iron Dome anti-missile batteries only months after they were said to be victims of budget sequestration.

The proposed deal needs to be approved by houses of Congress before becoming law. The deal also adds $15 million for a US co-production capability for Iron Dome parts.

Kerry Plays ‘Blame Game’ to Urge Congress to Go Soft on Sanctions

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Congress on Tuesday that new sanctions against Iran would be “gratuitous” and could harm any agreement with Iran as well as relations with world powers in the P5+1 group.

Speaking to the House Foreign Affairs Committee before leaving for another trip to Israel and the Palestinian Authority and then to the Far East, Kerry was not able to promise Congressmen that a final agreement with Iran would prohibit it form enriching uranium,

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif warned earlier this week that if Congress legislates new sanctions the it would render null and void the recent interim deal with the P5+1, made up of permanent U.N. Security Council members  United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, and France, plus Germany.

Kerry argued that the lifting of some sanctions is only a drop in the bucket compared to sanctions that remain, but California Republican Rep. Ed Royce said, “We have bargained away our fundamental position.”

Rep. Engel Named Chairman of International Jewish Lawmakers’ Group

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

New York Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel has been appointed chairman of an umbrella body for Jewish lawmakers worldwide, succeeding Italy’s Fiamma Nirenstein, who recently made aliyah to Israel.

The steering committee of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians named Engel, the senior Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, as its chairman this week during a meeting of the group in Washington.

“The work of the ICJP is important for Jews everywhere, and I am proud and honored to help lead and uphold its important mission,” Engel said in a statement.

The group, which is an initiative of the World Jewish Congress, passed resolutions on Iran and on anti-Semitism in Europe and Latin America. In the pipeline is a resolution on religious freedoms in Europe and a letter to President Obama calling for the commutation of the life sentence handed down 26 years ago to Jonathan Pollard, a spy for Israel.

 

Iran Owes Terror Victims Billions of Dollars, Says Activist Lawyer

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

An Israeli lawyer who has won billions of dollars for relatives of terror victims has asked Obama administration officials why they are discussing letting Iran off the hook on sanctions while it owes American relatives colossal sums of money.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, who heads the Israel Law Center, has won billions of dollars for relatives of terror victims in lawsuits against the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist organization as well as banks and other agencies that aid terrorists or act as a pipeline for funds for them.

She wrote Under Secretary Wendy Sherman last month, “Iran must not be allowed under any circumstances to avoid making payment of reparations and due compensations to the families of those whose lives they have destroyed through terrorism…and through the terror organizations it supports: Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah.”

In a blog posted this past week on The Hill website based in Washington, Darshan-Leitner noted that Sherman did not respond, and she added, “As a result of lawsuits taken by American victims of terror in U.S. courts, the Iranian regime currently owes billions of dollars from decades of terrorist activity resulting in dozens of victims and severed families. This debt has yet to be recognized or paid by the Iranian government with no sign of an intention to do so.”

She called on Congress to ensure that the U.S. government is working to keep the interests of the terror victims’ families on the table.

Darshan-Leitner pointed out that when George W. Bush was President, he conditioned repealing of any sanctions against Libya on payment of reparations to the victims of Libyan terror. “This move resulted in the payment of $1.5 billion dollars to the victims’ families,” she wrote.

On the other hand, Bush also removed North Korea from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism in 2008, without compensation being paid to American families, she added.

“We fear this lack of response not only portends a potential Iranian exemption from paying reparations and giving due compensation to families affected by terror in return for normalization of relations, but that it also signals a softening of Sherman’s position on the proliferation of terrorist activity and most significantly, creates difficult implications for the United States’ reputation as a pillar of justice in the war on terror,” according to Darshan-Leitner.

Her blog continued, “As lawyers for American, Canadian and Israeli victims of Iranian terror, we call on Congress to take action and place a check on Under Secretary Sherman in this current round of negotiations… We call on all members of Congress to ensure that victims of terror are not forgotten and to help make the Iranian regime provide the proper reparations and due compensation for the innocent lives taken at the hands of terrorist activities and not to gain a free pass in the name of diplomatic maneuverings.”

‘No Pause’ in AIPAC Iran Sanctions Campaign

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee said there would be “no pause, delay or moratorium in our efforts” to seek new sanctions on Iran.

The statement late Saturday came after days of reports that top pro-Israel groups, including AIPAC, had agreed in a meeting with senior White House staffers to suspend for 80 days lobbying for increased sanctions on Iran.

“AIPAC continues to support congressional action to adopt legislation to further strengthen sanctions and there will absolutely be no pause, delay or moratorium in our efforts,” said the statement by AIPAC President Michael Kassen.

Obama administration officials have said that passing intensified sanctions would be counterproductive while renewed negotiations are underway with Iran aimed at making its nuclear program more transparent and ensuring that Iran is not working to make a bomb.

Top officials have met with senators in recent days to ask them not to advance intensified sanctions passed over the summer by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Congressional proponents of the sanctions, as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have said that sanctions forced Iran to the negotiating table and should be upheld to extract meaningful concessions.

That outlook was echoed in the statement by AIPAC’s Kassen.

“AIPAC supports diplomatic efforts to achieve an end to Iran’s nuclear program,” Kassen said.

“Diplomatic talks have been made possible because of the strong sanctions passed by Congress and implemented by the administration,” he said. “Until Iran suspends its enrichment program, additional sanctions are vital for diplomacy to succeed.

White House Presses Congress Not To Intensify Sanctions

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

The National Security Council has asked Congressmen at a White House briefing to delay passing new Iran sanctions, according to BuzzFeed.

The meeting with top staffers from congressional committees dealing with Iran sanctions was called after the Obama administration launched renewed talks this month with Iran in the wake of pledges from its newly elected president, Hassan Rouhani, to cooperate with major powers in making Iran’s nuclear program more transparent.

Administration officials have said sanctions will remain in place until Iran tangibly shows it is abiding by U.N. Security Council resolutions and suspending uranium enrichment, but some congressional leaders, in line with the policy advised by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, want to intensify existing sanctions as a means of increasing leverage over Iran.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/white-house-presses-congress-not-to-intensify-sanctions/2013/10/24/

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