January 20, 2015
The debate over new Iran sanctions heated up last week, as President Barack Obama called for Congress to “show patience,” while Senate leaders finalized language on two sanctions bills. The bill sponsored by Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) received most of the President’s attention during a January 16 press conference. He...
January 13, 2015
Senate Republicans repeated last week that a vote on new Iran sanctions is top priority. The most likely vehicle will be a bill introduced by Senators Kirk and Menendez in late 2013, the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act (S. 1881). The bill operates in stages. First, it imposes sanctions. Then, it allows the President to suspend them if he...
January 6, 2015
Nuclear negotiations with Iran assumed a familiar pose in the waning days of December and the first days of 2015: Positive comments by both sides accompanied little progress. Meanwhile, the U.S. Treasury Department continued to enforce existing sanctions. New measures announced on December 30 targeted nine entities, including those that have...
December 16, 2014
According to a December 8 report in Foreign Policy, “in recent months” U.S. officials told a U.N. Panel monitoring Iran sanctions that “Iranian government procurement agents have been increasing their efforts to illicitly obtain equipment” for the heavy water reactor at Arak. This type of reactor is worrisome because of its size and design. It...
December 9, 2014
On December 7, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hailed the recent extension of talks with Iran as a success, and predicted that a final deal could result in "three, four months, and hopefully even sooner.” Kerry may have been trying to fend off calls for the new Congress to increase sanctions at once, instead of waiting for the extension to...
December 2, 2014
Relief was the main reaction to the announcement last week that the nuclear talks with Iran had been extended for another seven months. The main loser was the International Atomic Energy Agency. Iran was supposed to explain suspicious research that seemed intended for atomic bombs under an agreement with the Agency. However, Iran has been...
November 25, 2014
On November 24 the nuclear talks with Iran were extended for an additional seven months, as Iran and six world powers failed for the second time to agree on the fate of that country’s nuclear effort. During a press conference after the extension was announced, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said “we would be fools to walk away” from the talks...
November 18, 2014
Suspicion about what might come out of the nuclear talks with Iran continued to mount last week. Two U.S. Senators announced their bipartisan intent to impose additional sanctions on Iran if the talks yielded a deal they saw as weak. A day earlier, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the United States and its P5+1 partners no...
November 11, 2014
On November 6, the Wall Street Journal reported that in mid-October, U.S. President Barack Obama sent Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei a secret letter. The Journal said the letter stressed that any cooperation against Islamic extremists operating in Iraq and Syria would depend on reaching a nuclear deal with Iran. Also last week, the...
November 4, 2014
Last week, the United States uttered the clearest statement so far of its aims for a nuclear deal with Iran. In an interview on October 30, U.S.