Marco Rubio and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Urge Obama to Keep Sanctions on Iran
Around the State
Two Republicans from Florida are calling for continued sanctions against Iran even as that Middle Eastern nation continues negotiations over its nuclear weapons program.
On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who sits on both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Select Committee on Intelligence, unveiled a resolution calling for sanctions to remain in place until Iran shuts down its nuclear weapons program.
Rubio’s resolution states:
It shall be the policy of the United States that Iran will not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon and that all instruments of American power and influence remain on the table to prevent this outcome.
· Iran does not have an absolute or inherent right to enrichment and reprocessing technologies under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; therefore it must completely abandon these capabilities.
· Sanctions against Iran related to their nuclear program should only be relieved once Iran has completely abandoned its nuclear weapons program including any enrichment or reprocessing capability and has provided complete transparency to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
· Congress should move to adopt additional sanctions until Iran has demonstrably abandoned its nuclear weapons program, including any enrichment or reprocessing capability, and has provided complete transparency to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Staffers for Rubio informed Sunshine State News on Wednesday that the senator introduced a Senate resolution. A House companion is not needed.
In the meantime, the P5+1 negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program continue. The P5 are the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council -- China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the U.S -- while the other country involved is Germany.
The Obama administration continues to hold high hopes for the P5+1 negotiations in Geneva. A senior official from the Obama administration spoke to the media on Monday and expressed optimism about the current talks.
"This series of meetings comes at a pivotal time, not only for the United States but for the entire international community in its policy toward Iran," the official said in a conference call with the media on Monday night. “The United States has always believed that a diplomatic solution to resolving our concerns about Iran’s nuclear program is our preferred path. We have invested heavily in such a solution through both our participation in this P5+1 process and our effort to increase the pressure on Iran through comprehensive sanctions and other forms of international isolation.
We are encouraged that President Rouhani has received a mandate from the Iranian people to pursue a more moderate course,” added the senior official. “We are also encouraged that President Rouhani recently reiterated that Iran will never develop a nuclear weapon. The world has also heard from President Rouhani’s administration – including Foreign Minister Zarif, who’s here with us in Geneva – about its desire to improve Iran’s relations with the international community. President Obama, as you heard him say himself in the U.N. General Assembly, believes we should test those assertions, which is part of what we’ll be doing over the coming days.”
The senior official insisted the Obama administration entered “we go into these meetings clear-eyed about the fact that we have very, very difficult work to do” and said they will continue to “keep up the economic pressure on Iran” which includes maintaining sanctions.
“We know the road will have bumps in it, if not big hurdles," the senior official said. “No one is naive about the challenges we face in pursuing this diplomatic path.”
Rubio expressed little hope Iran can be trusted to dismantle its nuclear program. “No one should be impressed by what Iran appears to have brought to the table in Geneva,” Rubio said on Wednesday. “As the United States and the P5+1 continue negotiations with Iran next month, it is time to acknowledge that Tehran has broken its word far too many times to be trusted.”
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., the chairwoman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, joined Rubio this week in urging sanctions be left in place. Ros-Lehtinen insisted Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani cannot be trusted and warned the Obama administration not to back off on sanctions.
“This latest round of P5+1 negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear program is nothing more than a charade meant to undermine our leverage while allowing the centrifuges to continue to spin,” Ros-Lehtinen said on Tuesday. “The administration must not offer any easing of sanctions against Iran in exchange for empty promises and false hopes.
“The administration should not be deceived by Rouhani’s ruse, which has a history of using smooth talk to buy time for the nuclear program in the past,” Ros-Lehtinen added. “Iran’s intransigence and history of openly ignoring and failing to uphold U.N. Security Council Resolutions should not be rewarded with concessions; rather, it should be met with more constrictions. Responsible nations must not acquiesce to Tehran’s demands of allowing it to continue to enrich even the slightest bit of uranium.
“As the author of the strongest sanctions law ever against Iran -- the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 -- I can attest that this law was instrumental in further crippling the Iranian economy,” she said in conclusion. “The U.S. must continue to increase the sanctions against Iran until it has taken clear and verifiable steps to halt and dismantle its nuclear program.”
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.