JointMedia News Service (JNS)
The Obama administration wants to change wording in an amendment of the fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill so that sanctions on Iran’s central bank (CBI) will be eased. The amendment, proposed by U.S. Senators. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ), currently calls for more punitive damages against the bank.
According to reports, the Obama administration believes that current international efforts to sanction Iran are sufficient and that further penalties would only drive up Iranian oil prices, thereby actually helping finance Iran’s nuclear research and raising oil prices for Americans.
Politicians from both sides of the spectrum are strongly criticizing Obama for the attempted change, the Washington Post reported.
“I will not, and Congress should not, give into entreaties from the administration or elsewhere… to dilute our approach to sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran’s petroleum transactions… The Kirk-Menendez amendment is a good amendment,” said Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), according to Foreignpolicy.com.
Meanwhile, the president has dismissed the criticism, saying his administration “has systematically imposed the toughest sanctions on Iran ever.”
At the same time that the Obama administration’ is attempting to soften Iranian sanctions the Israeli government is seeking to accomplish just the opposite.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called for the world to impose crippling sanctions on Iran, Reuters reported. Barak said last week that sanctions targeting the Iranian oil trade and Central Bank were the only valid option, adding “nothing short of this kind of sanction will work.”
Earlier this month Barak said that there was still time left to decide whether or not Israel will attack Iranian nuclear sites and that such an attack was not imminent. He expressed hope that the Arab spring would infiltrate Iran more successfully.
“This regime in Iran, the ayatollahs, they will not be there I believe in 10 or 15 years. It is against the nature of the Iranian people and what happens all around the world,” he said according to Reuters. Were Iran to gain nuclear weapons, he continued, it would acquire another “layer of immunity” for its regime, similar to that of North Korea.