Congress stalls Iran bill

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News -

EF­FORTS TO ap­prove tougher sanc­tions against Iran in the last days be­fore Congress ends its term have fallen through due to par­ti­san dis­agree­ments and po­lit­i­cal dis­putes.

Repub­li­cans blocked the bill — com­posed of two pieces of leg­is­la­tion which had passed in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives — from reach­ing the Se­nate floor.

The first sec­tion was meant to close loop­holes in the ex­ist­ing leg­is­la­tion and pro­hibit ties be­tween US firms and in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies do­ing busi­ness with Iran’s en­ergy sec­tor. The sec­ond, orig­i­nally in­tro­duced by Se­na­tor Barack Obama, the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, would pro­vide le­gal back­ing to those di­vest­ing from com­pa­nies do­ing busi­ness with Iran.

This has put an end to chances the bill will pass in this congress, which will prob­a­bly not re-con­vene un­til the new congress is sworn in. Democrats had ar­gued that the rea­son be­hind the re­jec­tion was that Mr Obama’s name was at­tached to one of its parts and Repub­li­cans feared it would help him bol­ster his stand­ing on for­eign-pol­icy is­sues, a claim re­jected by Repub­li­cans.

In the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, leg­is­la­tion call­ing for in­creased in­spec­tions on ship­ments to and from Iran was not taken to the floor for a vote. Lib­eral groups ar­gued it ef­fec­tively called for a block­ade against Iran, which might lead to war, and Demo­cratic leaders de­cided not to vote on it un­til a new ver­sion is in­tro­duced.

All th­ese sug­gested mea­sures were strongly sup­ported by the pro-Is­rael lobby, which is ad­vo­cat­ing strength­en­ing the pres­sure on Iran. NATHAN GUTTMAN

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