21 Democratic senators push for sanctions against Iran for missile tests

Twenty-one Democratic senators have sent a letter to President Obama asking him to take action against Iran for violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions on conducting ballistic missile tests.

Thirty-five Republican senators sent a similar letter to the president earlier this week.

The senators want President Obama to impose additional sanctions on Iran either unilaterally or as part of an international coalition.  The senators fear that efforts in the U.N. to sanction Iran are moving too slowly and that Russia and China may veto any resolution that would be agreed to by a majority anyway.

The Hill:

"Such action is essential to make clear to Iran’s leaders that there will be consequences for future violations of UN Security Council Resolutions and that the United States reserves the right under the [nuclear agreement] to take unilateral action in response to this and other significant actions by Iran in the areas of ballistic missile development, terrorism and human rights," they wrote.    While the Democratic lawmakers said that they "appreciate" U.S. Ambassdor to the UN Samantha Power's efforts to try to get the Security Council to take action, they also suggested the process is moving too slowly.   The added that if Iran doesn't face consequences for two missile tests it has launched since October, government leaders in Tehran will "certainly also question the willingness of the international community to respond to violations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)."   The letter is the latest sign of concern from senators over the ballistic missile tests, with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle sending a flurry of letters to Obama and top administration officials since October pushing for a response.    Separately, Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) slammed the UN Security Council on Thursday for not increasing sanctions against Iran in the wake of the missile tests, noting that new sanctions wouldn't violate the nuclear deal.    "New sanctions for this type of behavior are not only allowed under the terms of that agreement, in fact it is critical to the agreement's success that the U.S. be willing to respond to Iran's bad behavior," he said.

A panel of experts that monitor Iran's compliance with U.N. resolutions concluded last week that the missile tests, conducted in October, violated the stricture against Iran testing a missile capable of carrying a nuclear weapon.   But Obama and the group of nations that concluded the nuclear deal with Iran are having none of this.  They are already working to lift sanctions on Iran ahead of schedule.

Washington Times:

The sudden flurry of progress toward what diplomats describe as “implementation day” is occurring for two reasons.

First, the IAEA Board of Governors yielded Wednesday to pressure from the Obama administration and others, including Iran’s ally Russia, to close its probe into the possible military dimensions of Iran’s past nuclear activities. Second, Iran’s government has become increasingly eager to get the deal implemented so sanctions relief can start before the nation’s Feb. 26 parliamentary elections.

The sanctions have badly battered Iran’s economy. Mr. Rouhani, whom some credit with spearheading Iran’s thaw in relations with the West, noted Wednesday that the long-awaited sanctions relief would deliver “one of the electoral promises of the government” to the Iranian people before the elections.

What is unclear is the extent to which the Obama administration is trying to work behind the scenes to make that happen to help more-moderate political forces defeat Iran’s anti-deal hard-liners when Iranian voters go to the polls.

Away from the politics in Iran, nearly every Republican and several Democrats in Washington opposed the nuclear agreement when it was announced in July.

The sudden momentum toward lifting sanctions sooner than anticipated — initial predictions had been that relief would occur in March or possibly later — is prompting outrage among senators on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill.

Iran has warned several times since the nuclear deal was concluded that imposing any additional sanctions would lead to Tehran abandoning the agreement.  But it is unclear if Iran was referring to sanctions because of its nuclear program rather than thsoe punishing it for its missile program – which, thanks to the stupidity of American negotiators, was not part of the nuclear deal.

President Obama has too much invested in this deal to risk seeing it fall apart just because Iran is perfecting the means of our destruction.  The same could probably be said of all the other P5+1 countries who have also invested a lot of political capital in the deal. So in the end, there will be a lot of sound and fury over the missile tests, but it won't amount to anything.

Twenty-one Democratic senators have sent a letter to President Obama asking him to take action against Iran for violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions on conducting ballistic missile tests.

Thirty-five Republican senators sent a similar letter to the president earlier this week.

The senators want President Obama to impose additional sanctions on Iran either unilaterally or as part of an international coalition.  The senators fear that efforts in the U.N. to sanction Iran are moving too slowly and that Russia and China may veto any resolution that would be agreed to by a majority anyway.

The Hill:

"Such action is essential to make clear to Iran’s leaders that there will be consequences for future violations of UN Security Council Resolutions and that the United States reserves the right under the [nuclear agreement] to take unilateral action in response to this and other significant actions by Iran in the areas of ballistic missile development, terrorism and human rights," they wrote.    While the Democratic lawmakers said that they "appreciate" U.S. Ambassdor to the UN Samantha Power's efforts to try to get the Security Council to take action, they also suggested the process is moving too slowly.   The added that if Iran doesn't face consequences for two missile tests it has launched since October, government leaders in Tehran will "certainly also question the willingness of the international community to respond to violations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)."   The letter is the latest sign of concern from senators over the ballistic missile tests, with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle sending a flurry of letters to Obama and top administration officials since October pushing for a response.    Separately, Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) slammed the UN Security Council on Thursday for not increasing sanctions against Iran in the wake of the missile tests, noting that new sanctions wouldn't violate the nuclear deal.    "New sanctions for this type of behavior are not only allowed under the terms of that agreement, in fact it is critical to the agreement's success that the U.S. be willing to respond to Iran's bad behavior," he said.

A panel of experts that monitor Iran's compliance with U.N. resolutions concluded last week that the missile tests, conducted in October, violated the stricture against Iran testing a missile capable of carrying a nuclear weapon.   But Obama and the group of nations that concluded the nuclear deal with Iran are having none of this.  They are already working to lift sanctions on Iran ahead of schedule.

Washington Times:

The sudden flurry of progress toward what diplomats describe as “implementation day” is occurring for two reasons.

First, the IAEA Board of Governors yielded Wednesday to pressure from the Obama administration and others, including Iran’s ally Russia, to close its probe into the possible military dimensions of Iran’s past nuclear activities. Second, Iran’s government has become increasingly eager to get the deal implemented so sanctions relief can start before the nation’s Feb. 26 parliamentary elections.

The sanctions have badly battered Iran’s economy. Mr. Rouhani, whom some credit with spearheading Iran’s thaw in relations with the West, noted Wednesday that the long-awaited sanctions relief would deliver “one of the electoral promises of the government” to the Iranian people before the elections.

What is unclear is the extent to which the Obama administration is trying to work behind the scenes to make that happen to help more-moderate political forces defeat Iran’s anti-deal hard-liners when Iranian voters go to the polls.

Away from the politics in Iran, nearly every Republican and several Democrats in Washington opposed the nuclear agreement when it was announced in July.

The sudden momentum toward lifting sanctions sooner than anticipated — initial predictions had been that relief would occur in March or possibly later — is prompting outrage among senators on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill.

Iran has warned several times since the nuclear deal was concluded that imposing any additional sanctions would lead to Tehran abandoning the agreement.  But it is unclear if Iran was referring to sanctions because of its nuclear program rather than thsoe punishing it for its missile program – which, thanks to the stupidity of American negotiators, was not part of the nuclear deal.

President Obama has too much invested in this deal to risk seeing it fall apart just because Iran is perfecting the means of our destruction.  The same could probably be said of all the other P5+1 countries who have also invested a lot of political capital in the deal. So in the end, there will be a lot of sound and fury over the missile tests, but it won't amount to anything.