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Claim That Iran Sanctions Are Like a Spigot Doesn’t Hold Water Under Questioning of Treasury Official

Negotiator grilled on more of what the nuke deal doesn't address as lawmakers lash out at White House for bullying the legislative branch.

by
Bridget Johnson

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February 4, 2014 - 10:27 pm
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WASHINGTON — The Treasury Department official in charge of implementing sanctions on rogue regimes was tripped up by the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday when grilled on how quickly sanctions could even be restarted if the Iran nuclear deal falls through.

As expected, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, who has been leading the U.S. delegation in the Geneva negotiations, pressed the administration line that Congress moving forward on new sanctions would “derail” diplomacy, “alienate us from our allies and risk unraveling the international cohesion that has proven so essential to ensuring that our sanctions have the intended effect.”

“We have made it clear to Iran that if it fails to live up to its commitment, or if we are unable to reach agreement on a comprehensive solution, we would ask Congress to ramp up new sanctions immediately,” Sherman told the morning hearing.

Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), an author of the Iran sanctions bill that has raised such ire at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., noted to Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen that “all of the sanctions that I’ve offered with Senator [Mark] Kirk and members have supported, they always have to have at least a 6-month period of time in order to give countries and companies the notice required and the time for you to do the regulations necessary to proceed.”

When asked if that was a fair statement, Cohen stammered, “I — I assume so…”

“Well, you’re enforcing them and you’ve had to pursue them. Have you had less than six months to be able to pursue any of the sanctions that we’ve passed?” Menendez continued.

“Senator, I sitting here right now don’t recall every piece of legislation, whether any of them were immediately effective or there was a phase-in for all of them,” Cohen replied. “We have, of course, implemented the sanctions that Congress passes as promptly as possible.”

Menendez stressed that “the legislation that became law always had a very long lead time, and then after that, you went to work to try to pursue that,” undercutting the administration’s argument that sanctions could turn on and off like a spigot as needed.

“To suggest that we can quickly pass sanctions is to not recognize that when we pass sanctions, there are six months from the date of signing before it ever goes into effect, and then after that there’s a whole period of time for you actually to pursue enforcement,” he said. “…It’s not simply about passing sanctions. It’s about the timeframe necessary to have them be effective and ultimately to take effect. And that is way beyond the window.”

Menendez hadn’t spoken publicly about the Iran sanctions effort since President Obama scolded the bill’s supporters and vowed to veto any such bill in the State of the Union address.

Today, the senator made clear that he’s still in the game.

“Any deal the administration reaches with Iran must be verifiable, effective, and prevent Iran from ever developing even one nuclear weapon,” Menendez said. “In my view, based on the parameters described in the joint plan of action, and Iranian comments in the days that have followed, I am very concerned about Iran’s willingness to reach such an agreement. This is not a nothing ventured, nothing gained enterprise. We have placed our incredibly effective international sanctions regime on the line without clearly defining the parameters of what we expect in a final agreement.”

The chairman brought up a number of telling quotes offered by Iranian official in recent days, including the head of Iran’s nuclear agency, Ali Akbar Salehi, telling Iranian state television “the iceberg of sanctions are melting, while our centrifuges are also still working. This is our greatest achievement.”

“Well, frankly, it is my greatest fear. Salehi may be correct — the iceberg of sanctions may melt before we have an agreement in place. That may, in fact, be the Iranian end game.”

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
If you like your nuclear weapons, you can keep your nuclear weapons.

Look, Obama and this cabal do not like Israel, don't believe that the capital of Israel is Jerusalem, booed Jerusalem at their conference. And...they believe that Israel being a nuclear nation is not fair...so, they want to show that another power can become nuclear...and they are willing to put up a rigged show to make it happen.

Russia, China and France really, really don't care. Britain has been an "ally" to Israel the way the BBC has been a fair and objective "news" agency to Israel.

This agreement makes ZERO sense from a "negotiations" standpoint. Not a single Negotiations 101 principle is in place from our side of the table.

Iran does not need to do ANYTHING concrete. It merely has to continue to do everything it wants, while we pretend to negotiate them out of it. When, at the end...they do not....Obama and the cabal of small c communist liars will blame Republicans, AIPAC, the Israelis, Bush, the Tea Party and Fox News...for the "failure" of "diplomacy".

This is a grand farce. It's a shell game. There is NO intention on either side of making Iran give up anything. Oddly, IRAN is telling the truth about it.

They have no intention of giving anything. This cabal is giving them time under the pretense of "negotiating". I see nothing in the way of "negotiations" other than a sham. The American people are being lied to...every day, in every way. And Congress...is powerless to stop it.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bridget, you're doing a great job to keep this story alive. It's shameful the way the administration bludgeoned Congress with the "War-mongering" label -- and for what? I cannot for the life of me figure out why Obama seems to have a love-affair with the Iranians (and the Muslim Brotherhood for that matter).

But what really upsets me is that the "I love Israel so much I want to destroy her" group otherwise known as J-Street apparently jumped into the fray and lobbied hard for the White House(?)

I mean they could simply have sat this one out, but they decide to really show how loyal they are to Obama's bow-to-and-placate-all-of-Israel's-enemies policy by working *for* the eventual destruction of Israel. It's beyond me what "good" they think they're doing in this case.

I sometimes wish we were more like the Catholics so that we could *expel* those people. Sigh.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
"comprehensive agreement" - Obamaspeak for obstruction and delay in the hopes of appeasing Iran.
That term was used so many times by Sherman it should have been CLEARLY defined; but nobody bothered. This is a cluster-frick in the desert, and destruction of Israel AND the U.S.A. is the end game for Iran. How in the helll do we "negotiate" with that? Iran mouthpieces slander and threaten Israel and the U.S.A. daily; a few days ago Brig. Gen. Salami announced that they had planned terrorists attacks within the U.S.A. WHO? WHO?!!!!! is gonna grow a pair and take on Iran head on?????? These B'TARDS mean to kill us for goodness sake!!!!!!
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (15)
All Comments   (15)
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I need to say it again. Every dictatorship on earth controls what its people think and know. We have been led to believe we are "exceptional". Go to Wikipedia and read "Operation Northwoods" declassified in 2000. "We could blow a US ship in Guantanamo bay and blame Cuba". "We could develop a communist Cuban terror campaign in Miami, Florida cities and even Washington". "Casualty list in US newspapers would cause a helpful wave of indignation". This plan approved by the Joint Chief of Staff and the Secretary of Defense included Hijacking airliners by remote control. You can read the document, it it authentic and the government does not deny it. Read your own history and learn about the REAL terrorist that live in DC. Did you know that in a global survey the US was listed now as the greatest risk to world peace. You still do not get it do you. 2 million Vietnamese, 1million Koreans, 500,000 children alone in Iraq and 100000 in Syria thus far. Reagan's "freedom fighters" in latin america, Carter's Mujahedeen and Obama's Alnusra. But do not worry, just give them more power and money to spread more freedom and the democracy. USSA, USSA!
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ya know, there is NO single nation that can defeat an armed U.S. citizenry. Japan had it right about a gun behind each blade of grass. EMPs and nukes would soften us up, but to conquer us, I don't think they can. Even with Soetoro inviting Russian, Chinese here to train, there aren't enough of them to make a pimple on a gnat's butt. If push comes to shove, Israel will defend it borders to include overflying any country needed to get to Iran. They have enough nukes to irradiate that country for years. What would be better would be neutrons, and they don't destroy property and radiation dies out in about 12-24 months.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
"What would be better would be neutrons, and they don't destroy property and radiation dies out in about 12-24 months."

-- that quickly? Really? If that's really true, it sure makes them a much more palatable weapon. I had thought they took much longer to decay (as in decades).
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Remember way back when Obama told Russia not to worry he will take care of them !
and that's exactly what he has done is given in Egypt Syria and Iran smirking dirty bastard did everything he promised. Including destroying the American economy such a foolish nation the stench of the Muslim grows stronger as the strength of America grows weaker
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
We need to include the Muslim on our own soil. They are training daily to be ready for the attack against us, when told it is the time. Plus, our government is doing nothing about the many training camps right here in the USA
. Why?
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Go to Wikipedia and read "Operation Northwoods" declassified in 2000. "We could blow a US ship in Guantanamo bay and blame Cuba". "We could develop a communist Cuban terror campaign in Miami, Florida cities and even Washington". "Casualty list in US newspapers would cause a helpful wave of indignation". This plan approved by the Joint Chief of Staff and the Secretary of Defense included Hijacking airliners by remote control. You can read the document, it it authentic and the government does not deny it. Read your own history and learn about the REAL terrorist that live in DC. Did you know that in a global survey the US was listed now as the greatest risk to world peace. You still do not get it do you. 2 million Vietnamese, 1million Koreans, 500,000 children alone in Iraq and 100000 in Syria thus far. Reagan's "freedom fighters" in latin america, Carter's Mujahedeen and Obama's Alnusra. But do not worry, just give them more power and money to spread more freedom and the democracy. USSA, USSA!
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
If you like your nuclear weapons, you can keep your nuclear weapons.

Look, Obama and this cabal do not like Israel, don't believe that the capital of Israel is Jerusalem, booed Jerusalem at their conference. And...they believe that Israel being a nuclear nation is not fair...so, they want to show that another power can become nuclear...and they are willing to put up a rigged show to make it happen.

Russia, China and France really, really don't care. Britain has been an "ally" to Israel the way the BBC has been a fair and objective "news" agency to Israel.

This agreement makes ZERO sense from a "negotiations" standpoint. Not a single Negotiations 101 principle is in place from our side of the table.

Iran does not need to do ANYTHING concrete. It merely has to continue to do everything it wants, while we pretend to negotiate them out of it. When, at the end...they do not....Obama and the cabal of small c communist liars will blame Republicans, AIPAC, the Israelis, Bush, the Tea Party and Fox News...for the "failure" of "diplomacy".

This is a grand farce. It's a shell game. There is NO intention on either side of making Iran give up anything. Oddly, IRAN is telling the truth about it.

They have no intention of giving anything. This cabal is giving them time under the pretense of "negotiating". I see nothing in the way of "negotiations" other than a sham. The American people are being lied to...every day, in every way. And Congress...is powerless to stop it.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Go to Wikipedia and read "Operation Northwoods" declassified in 2000. "We could blow a US ship in Guantanamo bay and blame Cuba". "We could develop a communist Cuban terror campaign in Miami, Florida cities and even Washington". "Casualty list in US newspapers would cause a helpful wave of indignation". This plan approved by the Joint Chief of Staff and the Secretary of Defense included Hijacking airliners by remote control. You can read the document, it it authentic and the government does not deny it.

Read your own history and learn about the REAL terrorist that live in DC. Did you know that in a global survey the US was listed now as the greatest risk to world peace. You still do not get it do you. 2 million Vietnamese, 1million Koreans, 500,000 children alone in Iraq and 100000 in Syria thus far. Reagan's "freedom fighters" in latin america, Carter's Mujahedeen and Obama's Alnusra. But do not worry, just give them more power and money to spread more freedom and the democracy. USSA, USSA!
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
The problem is two fold. First, Obama has armatures at the negotiation plus they there is cowed Kerry. Second, Obama by birth is a Muslim, he will say he is a Christian, but if he is, he is a postulate per the Muslims. Shia law requires a postulate be kill for leaving Islam, has anyone tried to kill him? It appears he still is one , thus by what I have stated/proved, he hate Israel no matter what he says; remember, it is ok to lie to further Islam. So why would he want stop Iran from getting the A bomb.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bridget, you're doing a great job to keep this story alive. It's shameful the way the administration bludgeoned Congress with the "War-mongering" label -- and for what? I cannot for the life of me figure out why Obama seems to have a love-affair with the Iranians (and the Muslim Brotherhood for that matter).

But what really upsets me is that the "I love Israel so much I want to destroy her" group otherwise known as J-Street apparently jumped into the fray and lobbied hard for the White House(?)

I mean they could simply have sat this one out, but they decide to really show how loyal they are to Obama's bow-to-and-placate-all-of-Israel's-enemies policy by working *for* the eventual destruction of Israel. It's beyond me what "good" they think they're doing in this case.

I sometimes wish we were more like the Catholics so that we could *expel* those people. Sigh.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama moronically relaxed sanctions in order to get Iran to (pretend to) negotiate. Yesterday we learned that Obamacare will destroy over 2 million jobs. The incompetence of Obama is breathtaking.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
About 4 years ago I too thought Mr Obama was incompetent, but I've slowly come to realize that even incompetent people get SOME things right once in a while. This level of destruction is planned!
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
"comprehensive agreement" - Obamaspeak for obstruction and delay in the hopes of appeasing Iran.
That term was used so many times by Sherman it should have been CLEARLY defined; but nobody bothered. This is a cluster-frick in the desert, and destruction of Israel AND the U.S.A. is the end game for Iran. How in the helll do we "negotiate" with that? Iran mouthpieces slander and threaten Israel and the U.S.A. daily; a few days ago Brig. Gen. Salami announced that they had planned terrorists attacks within the U.S.A. WHO? WHO?!!!!! is gonna grow a pair and take on Iran head on?????? These B'TARDS mean to kill us for goodness sake!!!!!!
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Warmonger........Go to Wikipedia and read "Operation Northwoods" declassified in 2000. "We could blow a US ship in Guantanamo bay and blame Cuba". "We could develop a communist Cuban terror campaign in Miami, Florida cities and even Washington". "Casualty list in US newspapers would cause a helpful wave of indignation". This plan approved by the Joint Chief of Staff and the Secretary of Defense included Hijacking airliners by remote control. You can read the document, it it authentic and the government does not deny it. Read your own history and learn about the REAL terrorist that live in DC. Did you know that in a global survey the US was listed now as the greatest risk to world peace. You still do not get it do you. 2 million Vietnamese, 1million Koreans, 500,000 children alone in Iraq and 100000 in Syria thus far. Reagan's "freedom fighters" in latin america, Carter's Mujahedeen and Obama's Alnusra. But do not worry, just give them more power and money to spread more freedom and the democracy. USSA, USSA!
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
O'Zero's foreign policy gaffs and missteps will be much like Carter's gaffs and missteps - gifts that just keep on giving - problems.

32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
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