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House Dem on White House Iran Strategy: ‘The Imperial Presidency Grows Further’

"'Consultation' means we'll tell you no and you'll do it anyway," congressman fires at lead U.S. negotiator.

by
Bridget Johnson

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July 29, 2014 - 6:05 pm
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WASHINGTON — The Obama administration appeared before both houses of Congress today to explain its four-month extension to the nuclear negotiations with Iran — and tried to draw a distinction between “repealing” sanctions as required by law and “waiving” them via executive authority.

That just stoked concerns of lawmakers in both parties.

“I think everyone knows where I stand. I’ve been skeptical of the Iranians’ sincerity from day one. And I cannot say that I am any less skeptical today than I was six months ago. I do not believe Tehran has had a change of heart about its nuclear program,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said at the morning’s hearing.

“I also get concerned when I hear ‘if no deal, what’? Because that implies that you have to get a deal at any cost. And so, I know that there are those in the disarmament community and in the editorial pages who suggest that those of us who really want to make sure that we get a good deal somehow have this penchant for wars.”

Menendez made clear he had no patience for “the State Department’s talking points” but instead wanted to hear “what happened at the negotiating table that brought Iran closer, to their view, to a deal, if only they had another four months.”

“I also want to be clear today that I do not support another extension of negotiations,” he said. “At that point, Iran will have exhausted its opportunity to put real concessions on the table, and I will be prepared to move forward with additional sanctions.”

Ranking member Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said numbers of classified and unclassified briefings only increased their concerns. “I mean, in each case, on the important issues, we feel the goal post moved,” he said. “…I hope that today you will publicly commit that there will be absolutely no more extensions — none — no matter where we are at the end of this four-month period, there will not be additional extensions.”

Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, who has been leading the U.S. team at the P5+1 negotiations, told the senators, “I cannot tell you today that our diplomacy will succeed because I am not sure that it will.”

“I have learned in negotiations that it is very difficult to say what will happen at the end of any given period of time… Our intent is absolutely to end this on Nov. 24 in one direction or another.”

Sherman wouldn’t be clear on how long of an agreement is being sought. Menendez has insisted on a period as long as 30 years, while Iran is suspected of lobbying for short-term concessions to get out of a long-term agreement.

“We believe that the duration of this should be at least double digits, and we believe that it should be for quite a long time,” she said. “I’m not going to put a specific number on the table today, because that is a subject of very sensitive negotiations, but I’m happy to discuss that with you in a classified setting.”

“We did not — we made a very conscious decision not to go for a six-month extension, which was possible under the JPOA because we thought we would just get to month five before anything would happen.”

Corker reminded Sherman of an April 8 statement by Kerry “that the administration is obligated under law to come back to Congress for any relief of statutorily imposed sanctions on Iran, and any agreement with Iran will have to pass muster with Congress.”

“I want you to clearly state to me, will you or will you not come to Congress before lifting — whether it’s a waive, a temporary waive, a skate-down-the-road, whatever, no way will you lift any kind of relief on Iran, period, after this next agreement is reached or not reached without coming to Congress?” he asked.

“We cannot lift any sanctions without congressional action. We can, as you said, suspend or waive under the current legislation. We will not do so without conversations with Congress,” Sherman said. “If you are asking, senator, whether we are going to come to Congress for legislative action to affirm a comprehensive agreement, we believe, as other administrations do, that the executive branch has the authority to take such executive action on this kind of a political understanding that might be reached with Iran. I can’t tell you whether we will or not.”

“So, you’re here telling me you can’t be any more clear than coming and having the same kind of conversation you’ve had in the past when asked this,” Corker said. “You’re telling us what you’re going to do.”

“Senator, the United States Congress and the United States Senate has oversight authority and legislative authority,” Sherman shot back. “You are free to decide what action you think is appropriate, or any executive branch’s decision by any administration.”

But Wendy Sherman and Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes David Cohen faced similar skepticism at the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the afternoon — from the president’s own party.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) noted that Cohen has said sanctions would come down on a nuclear Iran “like a ton of bricks.”

“I think you need more bricks,” he said.

Top Rated Comments   

Western civilization can spend the next decade ( if we last that long )
Trying to contain and defeat the Jihadist forces of Islam.
We can keep struggling in the quest for the Democratization of Islamic states which we already did and failed at after investing billions in money and blood.
We can try to strengthen the so-called 'moderate branches of Islam, if there is one. They're either being cowed Into silence or winking and nodding to their Islamist brothers.
We can continue to use drones and special forces and police actions but so far That hasn't been effective. The violent Jihadists reproduce faster than we can neutralize them.
We can try making nice with the organizations of 'Soft-Jihadists' who advance Sharia and Jihad through usually peaceful and legal
Means (like the Muslim Brotherhood Obama's been backing for
The last six years) but that backfired.
The problem of violent Islamic Jihad is more widespread and virulent today than it was even at the height of its glory days when Hordes of Jihadists Advanced on Spain and other parts of Europe, something happening again even at this moment. For Over 1400 years of Jihadist violence, of murder and enslavement, forced conversions, and abuse Of women and children ...and yet still In this modern day and age Islam remains more a retro-sixth century ideology of bloody conquest than anything resembling a religion of peace and harmony.
The world can't wait for this backward cult of Muhammad to somehow 'reform' itself.
Not when nuclear and chemical weapons of Jihad very soon will be within the reach Of religious psychopaths and end-of-days fanatics who yearn for martyrdom.
When a beehive is burnt the surviving bees are disoriented
And dispersed. Certainly there are many angry bees initially but then they lose their ability to sting and just Disappear and scatter into the countryside and soon die.
There's a lesson in this. The hive is in Mecca. It's called the
Kaaba. Or we can continue getting stung for the rest of history!


Yoelarry
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (13)
All Comments   (13)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Boehner should go on the attack; Ebola will come in thru Mexico. Obama pays back Butt Boy Boehner for all his folds, by using Racial Coersion. Butt Boy DESERVES it. ALL International Leaders rape Obama in public, while Butt Boy voluntarily bottoms for Obama.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
“I’m sure my friend didn’t mean that but when we talk about 30,000-pound bunker-busters and taking airplanes out of the boneyard to deliver them, that certainly sounds like we favor a military option before we have completed the diplomatic process,” Connolly said.

And the problem with that is?
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama sucks.

Got it?
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment

Western civilization can spend the next decade ( if we last that long )
Trying to contain and defeat the Jihadist forces of Islam.
We can keep struggling in the quest for the Democratization of Islamic states which we already did and failed at after investing billions in money and blood.
We can try to strengthen the so-called 'moderate branches of Islam, if there is one. They're either being cowed Into silence or winking and nodding to their Islamist brothers.
We can continue to use drones and special forces and police actions but so far That hasn't been effective. The violent Jihadists reproduce faster than we can neutralize them.
We can try making nice with the organizations of 'Soft-Jihadists' who advance Sharia and Jihad through usually peaceful and legal
Means (like the Muslim Brotherhood Obama's been backing for
The last six years) but that backfired.
The problem of violent Islamic Jihad is more widespread and virulent today than it was even at the height of its glory days when Hordes of Jihadists Advanced on Spain and other parts of Europe, something happening again even at this moment. For Over 1400 years of Jihadist violence, of murder and enslavement, forced conversions, and abuse Of women and children ...and yet still In this modern day and age Islam remains more a retro-sixth century ideology of bloody conquest than anything resembling a religion of peace and harmony.
The world can't wait for this backward cult of Muhammad to somehow 'reform' itself.
Not when nuclear and chemical weapons of Jihad very soon will be within the reach Of religious psychopaths and end-of-days fanatics who yearn for martyrdom.
When a beehive is burnt the surviving bees are disoriented
And dispersed. Certainly there are many angry bees initially but then they lose their ability to sting and just Disappear and scatter into the countryside and soon die.
There's a lesson in this. The hive is in Mecca. It's called the
Kaaba. Or we can continue getting stung for the rest of history!


Yoelarry
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
its amazing to me that people still think this prez. isn't biased concerning muslims. he always has some religious words for us around some muslim holiday, frees up their $$ so they can proceed w/ their nukes, and then gives them some extra time. still won't talk about Benghazi, just walked away from our sacrifices in Iraq, and never really had a body (just excuses) to show us Osama. weird about all those dead Navy Seals, huh?

otoh, he can't be bothered when muslims wipe our Christians and attack the Jewish state of Israel. folks, hate to break it, but we have a bad guy in the w.h. and 6 years later the excuse machine continues to look as foolish as ever. as they constantly demonstrate:
'hamas is a humanitarian organization', says the sage Pelosi.
hamas stores rocket bombs in schools because its so crowded over there, says the smartest woman in washington and first feminist, hitlery.

I'm convinced, somebody has spiked the water in washington. somebody call the e.p.a., or the d.e.a. or c.d.c. on second thought, they all report to the golfer and chief so never mind. waste of time and $$.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
At least our Golfer-in-Chief hasn't committed any impeachable offenses.

I know that because the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee -- who held a hearing on the subject and whose committee would draw up the articles of impeachment -- said so just about a week ago.

Unfortunately Chairman Bob Goodlatte is my Representative. I know the CW about vote for the Republican regardless, but I'm going to have a very, VERY hard time voting for a man who seems to be either totally incompetent or a liar.
The most favorable story I can make up is "Trust us: The best thing to do about Obama is NOTHING." But they won't come out and say that.

They treat us as children, which would be okay for someone who really is an adult and gets it right most of the time. But the Republican batting average is maybe .050? Surely not .100. And 'Nothing' translates to "The Constitution provides no mechanism for controlling a rogue president."

I don't believe that. What I think is true is that Republicans lack the ability to explain impeachment in terms America would understand EVEN THOUGH 35% OF US ALREADY SUPPORT IT. Their inability is so profound that they can't even explain it to themselves. So they give up.

We have not a single functioning defensive institution. I can't see this ending well.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Goodlatte problem is twofold:

1. Most of our district (yes, I'm your neighbor) think he does a fine job of bringing home the bacon, so, they support him.

2. Finding a credible challenger for the primary. Last time around, I didn't even HEAR of his challenger until about two weeks before the primary. She finally got around to sending out a flyer. I voted for her, but man, what a pathetic excuse for a campaign!

#1 is the biggest problem. So many so-called "conservatives" vote only the pork.

12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Listen up ! Please don't blow the chances of GOP November election victory by
Talking up the 'I' word. Only the Dems benefit from that talk right now.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
nutherguy, the situation is now that impeachment without removal from office is a worthless endeavor. The house can proceed with the impeachment process like it did with Billy Jeff, but there aren't enough votes in the Senate to convict and remove Obama from office now. Maybe in the next Congress that will change. Too many current Democrat senators will never vote to convict no matter what happens to the country.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
When is this nonsense going to end? Once Islam was framed as a race, it has become impossible to deal with countries like Iran. They are liars because their religion demands it when dealing with infidels. But to point that out leads to cries of racism. When you mention the belief of the "twelvers" in Iran, you are called a racist. If this had been the zeitgeist in the 30s, Germany would have won that war.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
the top dogs in iran aren't lunatics, the guys running the show here can easily be desribed as dellusional ... the countdown is progressing according to script
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Islam is not a race."

Just keep repeating that phrase. It is both accurate and true.

If someone insists it is a race, ask her/him what is the color of a Muslim's skin. Ask that person if s/he knows the difference between a Persian and an Arab.

Be prepared to point out the Muslims who are neither Persian nor Arabic. Point out that Islam has African, Asian and Caucasian adherents.

It can be done.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, Mandy, and it MUST be done.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
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