Senate Republicans Block New Iran Sanctions Because They Want More War Posturing

Senate Republicans have temporarily blocked a new Iran sanctions bill--but not because sanctions could lead the US closer to war. Instead, GOP leaders have halted the bill because they want language indicating that a military option remains on the table.

The bill is aimed at strengthening the already crippling sanctions regime the US has placed on Iran because of its nuclear energy program. The new sanctions, as Reuters explains, is “meant to shut down any financial deals with Iran's powerful state oil and tanker enterprises, stripping Tehran of crucial oil revenues.”

Implementing new sanctions on Iran is normally a no-brainer for a Congress in thrall to the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which backs this bill. But this particular legislation has run into some roadblocks.

When Harry Reid (D-NV) attempted to pass the bill by unanimous consent in March, he was stopped by Rand Paul (R-KY). Paul wanted to insert an amendment explicitly saying that this bill does not authorize the use of force against Iran. Paul was ultimately successful, and his amendment is now part of the bill.

But if GOP leaders are successful in getting language stating that a military option remains on the table into the legislation, the bill would be sending a confusing message--not that sending a confusing message has ever stopped Congress.

Regardless, a separate resolution that many analysts have criticized as a backdoor to war with Iran is coming up for a vote soon. The resolution, which rules out containment as a policy towards a nuclear Iran and states that an Iranian nuclear weapons capability is unacceptable, is scheduled to be voted on this week. 

AlterNet / By Alex Kane

Posted at May 17, 2012, 9:22am

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