Engagement: UN Assembly in 3 weeks, it’s D-Day on Iran (S.908)
Enough time wasted.. Time to step up to the plate Mr President.
We heard about the Obama engagement plan all throughout the never ending campaign, more than a year & a half’s worth of buildup by the progressive wing of the American Democratic party. In January 2009, Obama was sworn in. He took a fair allotment of time to prepare his administration to implement his ideas through an Iranian policy review, no problem. By March Israel’s new government was beginning to do the same.
During the 1st & only meeting between PM Netanyahu & President Obama we learned that the US was coming to agreement with the consensus feeling in both Israel and old Europe that engagement could not be open ended, as this would allow Iran opportunity to simply stall for time under a cloak of ‘engagement’ while developing nuclear capabilities. The time frame laid out by Obama was end of 2008 to begin review of the engagement process.
Obama meanwhile punted, under the claim that until Iranian early summer elections elections no engagement was possible. Unfortunately for him, the Iranian people and the world, we all witnessed the brutality and criminality of the Iranian theocracy close up in those ‘elections’. Despite a state of denial by the American administration to ‘push forward’ with the illegitimate regime regardless, Europe was somewhat more appalled.
S. 908 ready since April
As a result of the brutality and clear path to failure with engagement Sarkozy, Merkel, and Israel were more inclined to speed things up. A consensus was reached at the Italian G8 Summit that discussion & determination of what action to take re Iran would come at the UN General Assembly in September, now 3 weeks away where the P5+1 / G8 members will be present. In the US Senate, a refined fuel sanctions bill is long on the table awaiting the White House ok. The Honorables Evan Bayh & Senator Lieberman have about 70 senate votes & about 300 house members prepared to support the new sanctions proposed by S. 908. (see below)
The time for dilly dally is up, now is the time for pressure, sanctions, and isolation. It is likely Israel will come to some form of agreement on peace talks & settlements to placate envoy Mitchell & President Obama, so that the path will be clear for the American administration to live up to its pledge on alternatives to friendly Obama charm based ‘engagement’ - Which has now failed. The UN session will begin on the 15th, will we see the P5+1 push for international pressure? Will we see S. 908 become law? Will American foreign policy finally take some form?
Just as crucial, what kind of distraction, mayhem, or terror is Iran perhaps planning to deflect attention and consensus on these matters? The last time we saw an important crossroads like this Hezbollah was instructed by Iran to create distraction. They assaulted Israel in terrorist action to kidnap Israeli soldiers, resulting in a month long war in Lebanon. By the same token, any failure to move forward internationally led by the USA on Iran now puts Israel in a ready mode, prepared to jump out of the blocks and sprint to a military solution..
Netanyahu is already traveling Europe preparing the ground work for the UN Assembly, if he announces he is planning to address the world in New York we’ll know just how serious efforts to box in Iran are. President Obama is going to have to hawk up, pass sanctions and prepare a possible blockade for early 2009. Will he?
7 months gone, 7 months wasted.. 7 months closer to Iranian nuclear weapons. Time for countries & international petroleum companies to choose. Whom do they want to transact with, America or Iran?
A bill to amend the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 to enhance United States diplomatic efforts with respect to Iran by expanding economic sanctions against Iran.
Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act – Expresses the sense of Congress that: (1) the United States should continue to support diplomatic efforts in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the U.N. Security Council to end Iran’s illicit nuclear activities;
(2) diplomatic efforts with Iran are more likely to be effective if the President is empowered with the explicit authority to impose additional sanctions on the government of Iran;
(3) it should be U.S. policy to encourage foreign governments to direct state-owned and private entities to cease all investment in, and support of, Iran’s energy sector and all exports of refined petroleum products to Iran;
(4) the President is urged to impose sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran and any other Iranian financial institution engaged in proliferation activities or support of terrorist groups;
(5) the Department of the Treasury should continue to work with allies to protect the international financial system from deceptive and illicit practices by Iranian financial institutions involved in proliferation activities or support of terrorist groups;
(6) U.S. concerns regarding Iran are strictly the result of that government’s actions; and (7) the people of the United States have feelings of friendship for the people of Iran and regret that developments in recent decades have created impediments to that friendship.
Amends the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 to direct the President to impose two or more current sanctions under such Act if a person has, with actual knowledge, made an investment of $20 million or more (or any combination of investments of at least $5 million which in the aggregate equals or exceeds $20 million in any 12-month period) that directly and significantly contributed to Iran’s ability to develop its petroleum resources. (Under current law the sanction thresholds are $40 million, $10 million, and $40 million, respectively.)
Directs the President to impose: (1) sanctions established under this Act (in addition to any current sanctions imposed under the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996) if a person has, with actual knowledge, sold, leased, or provided to Iran any goods, services, technology, information, or support that would allow Iran to maintain or expand its domestic production of refined petroleum resources, including any assistance in refinery construction, modernization, or repair; and (2) sanctions established under this Act if a person has, with actual knowledge, provided Iran with refined petroleum resources or engaged in any activity that could contribute to Iran’s ability to import refined petroleum resources, including providing shipping, insurance, or financing services for such activity.
Establishes additional sanctions prohibiting specified foreign exchange, banking, and property transactions.
Includes references to refined petroleum resources in a presidential report to Congress requesting waiver of sanctions for purposes of national interest.
Directs the President to report to the appropriate congressional committees every six months regarding any person who has: (1) provided Iran with refined petroleum resources; (2) sold, leased, or provided to Iran any goods, services, or technology that would allow Iran to maintain or expand its domestic production of refined petroleum resources; or (3) engaged in any activity that could contribute to the enhancement of Iran’s ability to import refined petroleum resources.