Friday, September 29, 2006
The House voted Thursday to impose mandatory sanctions on entities that provide goods or services for Iran's weapons programs. The vote came as U.S diplomats continued to press the U.N. Security Council to penalize Tehran if it fails to end its uranium enrichment program.Sorry - can't give those assurances. The wheels are already in motion.
The bill, passed by a voice vote, sanctions any entity that contributes to Iran's ability to acquire chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. The president has the authority to waive those sanctions, but only when he can show that it is in the vital national interest.
"It would be a critical mistake to allow a regime with a track record as bloody and as dangerous as Iran to obtain nuclear weapons," said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (news, bio, voting record), R-Fla., sponsor of the measure. "Enough with the carrots. It's time for the stick."
But critics questioned the need for unilateral action when the United States was pushing for a multinational approach to Iran's alleged nuclear program. "It is, if you will, a cruise missile aimed at a difficult diplomatic effort just as they are reaching their most sensitive point," said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (news, bio, voting record), D-Ore. "The timing for this legislation could not be worse."
But others warned that language in the bill supporting democratic change in Iran would only antagonize people in Iran who might see parallels to U.S. regime change objectives in neighboring Iraq. It's time, said Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, "to give assurance to Iran that we are not going to attack them."