Reid committed to moving ahead with Iran sanctions in Senate

WASHINGTON Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:37am EST

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) speaks to the media about healthcare on Capitol Hill in Washington October 29, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) speaks to the media about healthcare on Capitol Hill in Washington October 29, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Thursday he was committed to moving ahead with a tougher Iran sanctions bill when the Senate returns from a holiday recess early next month, adding to pressure on Tehran as negotiators meet in Geneva on a deal to curb Iran's nuclear program.

"I will support a bill that would broaden the scope of our current petroleum sanctions, place limitations on trade with strategic sectors of the Iranian economy that support its nuclear ambitions, as well as pursue those who divert goods to Iran," Reid said on the Senate floor.

A sanctions bill has been held up in the Senate Banking Committee for months, after President Barack Obama's administration asked for a delay to allow time to pursue a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis. The West says Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, but Tehran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

The holdup by Obama's fellow Democrats, who control the Senate, angered many Republicans as well as some Democrats who threatened to push ahead with their own sanctions measures if the bill in the Banking Committee did not advance.

Members of Congress, backed by the influential pro-Israel lobby, tend to be more hawkish on Iran than the Obama administration.

Negotiators from world powers were meeting in Geneva on Thursday for a third round of talks to finalize an interim deal for Tehran to curb its nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief.

Reid said he strongly supports the negotiations, hopes they succeed and wants them to produce "the strongest possible agreement."

But he said he was aware that Iran could keep them from succeeding. He said he is a strong supporter of the tough sanctions regime currently in place and believed it had brought Tehran to the negotiating table.

"While I support the administration's diplomatic effort, I believe we need to leave our legislative options open to act on a new, bipartisan sanctions bill in December, shortly after we return," Reid said.

The Senate and House of Representatives are scheduled to be out of session next week for the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.

(Additional reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Vicki Allen)

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Comments (4)
Logical123 wrote:
Reid is just as stupid as the other senators such as Kirk and Menendez who really represent Israel rather than the United States. The idea that Congress would impose new sanctions when the U.S. is negotiation with Iran on the very issue of sanctions shows that the U.S. government is an immature, primitive and dysfunctional entity. It is so unreliable that its word in international circles is worthless. Almost all congressmen are sycophantic bootlickers of Israel.

Nov 21, 2013 1:56pm EST  --  Report as abuse
xcanada2 wrote:
All members of Congress who show first allegiance to Israel, and against American interests, should be rejected at the earliest voting. Similarly, for all congress people who waver from loyalty to the American majority rather than the superclass and their lobbyists.

Most of Congress would fail the test of loyalty to the people. However, I believe we would be much better off with a brand-new Congress. Some of the new ones might be corrupt or incompetent, but at least they won’t be the entrenched captured followers of the superclass. We, the people, should institute term limits by simply voting out any member of Congress who shows the slightest disloyalty to us, the majority.

If you see somebody seeking your vote, with lots of unaccounted-for money behind them, vote against them. That should be one of the litmus tests. The more they spend on TV/media, the less trustworthy they are.

Nov 21, 2013 2:08pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Logical123 wrote:
As usual, in this article Reuters misrepresented what Harry Reid said. Apparently, Reid said that he would support more sanctions if the current negotiations failed. This proviso is conveniently left out of the Reuters article.

My earlier strong denunciation of Reid was based on the account presented in this article. Wall Street Journal now presents the alternate statement which I assume is more accurate. Shame on Reuters.

Nov 21, 2013 2:28pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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