GOP Kills Tougher Iran Sanctions Bill

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This week, legislation that had passed overwhelmingly in the House, that would have broadened US Iran sanctions to ban US dealings with Iran through foreign subsidiaries, and trade with foreign entities that deal with Iran’s energy industry, was set to come for a vote in the Senate. The legislation, supported by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, was opposed by business groups and the Bush administration, which feared it would lead to further fissures in the international coalition the U.S. has tried to assemble to pressure Iran to halt its uranium enrichment program.

But as JTA reports, the legislation was blocked by Senate Republicans. Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Co) “exercised his prerogative Thursday to object to consideration of legislation that had passed overwhelmingly last week in the U.S. House of Representatives,” the news service writes.

“Both the White House and business groups were concerned with the extraterritorial aspects of the bill,” Washington trade attorney Douglas Jacobson explained. “Business groups were also opposed to the divestment aspects. The White House has threatened to veto similar bills many times on grounds that it interferes with the executive branch’s ability to conduct foreign policy.”

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) criticized Republican efforts to derail the measure, which is now considered unlikely to come up for a vote again before Congress completes its session this weekend. “I am disappointed that the Republicans yesterday blocked the Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act of 2008 from moving forward in the Senate,” Reid said in a statement.

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