Deb Fischer on War & Peace
FISCHER: Iran cannot be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. But we have an administration that has sent mixed signals. We have a strong, strong ally in Israel, the only democracy in the region. This is not just their problem. We're looking at the country of Iran, where it's estimated that in three years they will have ICBMs that can reach the United States. This is a concern for the world. It's a concern for our country. We have an administration that hasn't been clear on foreign policy, and there's been a lack of leadership. We need to have a strong administration who's going to make it clear that a line needs to be drawn. If the United States of America is going to be a leader in foreign policy and keep stability in this world, as has been our mission in the past, then we need to make it clear. We have an administration that has sent mixed signals.
There was far more agreement than disagreement, and no sudden confrontations, during the debate before about 150 in the Johnny Carson Theatre at Norfolk High School.
Congressional Summary:Prohibits US-based correspondent accounts or a payable-through accounts by a foreign financial institution that knowingly:
Arguments for and against bill: (New York Times, May 8, 2013): Seeking to escalate pressure on Iran, a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation that would deny the Iranian government access to its foreign exchange reserves, estimated to be worth as much as $100 billion. The legislation would be the first major new sanction confronting Iran since its inconclusive round of negotiations last month on its disputed nuclear program.
Sponsors of the legislation contend that Iran is not bargaining in good faith while it continues to enrich uranium. Part of the reason, they say, is that Iran has been able to work around the worst effects of the sanctions by tapping its foreign currency reserves overseas, which are largely beyond the reach of current restrictions. "Closing the foreign currency loophole in our sanctions policy is critical in our efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability," the sponsors said.
Critics said the new legislation risked further alienating Iranians who suspect that the sanctions' true purpose is not to pressure Iran in the nuclear negotiations, but to cause an economic implosion that would lead to regime change. "When we've cemented a sanctions escalation path, we're creating a trajectory toward actual confrontation," said the founder of the National Iranian American Council, a Washington group that opposes sanctions. Some Iranian leaders, he said, see the sanctions "as a train that can only go in one direction and has no brakes."
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