Senate to Soon Consider New Iran Sanctions

The U.S. Senate will soon consider yet another package of harsh economic sanctions on Iran as punishment for a nuclear weapons program they don’t have, Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Tuesday.

Iran is already facing an unprecedented set of U.S.-led economic sanctions, focused on but not exclusive to its oil and banking sectors. After repeated updating of the sanctions by Washington in recent months (the latest was in December), unemployment has risen considerably, inflation is rampant, and ordinary Iranians are suffering.

Incidentally, the sanctions have not resulted in a change in policy by Tehran, which the Obama administration and Congress say is the aim. Part of the reason is because sanctions don’t work, but another part is because Iran already conforms to Washington’s demands regarding its nuclear program.

There is a consensus in the U.S. military and intelligence community that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons and has demonstrated no intention of doing so. Still, aggressive foreign policy postures and harsh economic sanctions which severely harm the Iranian people continue, primarily for domestic political reasons and to pacify Israel.

The current legislation, on which Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would “soon ask consent” for an expedited vote, would focus on foreign banks transactions with Iran’s oil and tanker companies. It also includes measures aimed at closing loopholes in existing sanctions.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) attempted to block the new sanctions legislation, demanding Senate Democrats to allow a vote on his amendment that says that nothing in the bill “shall be construed as a declaration of war or an authorization of use of force against Iran or Syria.” This will delay Reid’s plans to pass the bill, but Paul has failed in such congressional stand-offs in the past.

Columbia University Professor Gary Sick has called the sanctions effort “the equivalent of a blockade. It’s an act of war.” Trita Parsi, of the National Iranian American Council, wrote last week that “the sanctions strategy on Iran will very soon reach [the] point” of escalating the situation with Iran to one of “two policies: Regime change or war. Or Both.”

Indeed, with no actual pretext (Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapons program) and perfectly available peaceful alternatives to war, that seems to be Washington’s end game.

Last 5 posts by John Glaser

Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.

  • mojo

    What all these sanction would do to US small business and what it would create regarding jobs and revenue for people is yet to be felt by people, but as longs as these sanctions are in place government would have its income cut by the amount of these sanction, that is to say if sanction works. Israel, AIPAC and US Zionism agenda have something to do with this, otherwise American people want to have a job and get on with their life, they are sick and tired to be lied to and they are sick and tired in having and being at wars for last 60 years.

  • Yonatan

    The US has got to stop the Iranian oil bourse and direct barter agreements. It cannot allow oil to be traded in anything other than US dollars. Saddam Hussein tried to sell oil directly, as did Gadhaffi. Look what happened to them. As soon as the US dollar loses this status, the US economy is dead. Who would then want a pile of US dollar paper when the US Fed just prints it at will.

  • baz

    israel will be the end of us

    the question then becomes, "what do we do with all the Israel firsters"?

  • MoT

    I don't know if the Iranians have done this, maybe but I'm not glued to the news all the time, but have they even gone before the UN and said that this amounts to war and that the nations responsible and those following along need to stand up and make themselves known. If it cannot be proven that they have these imaginary bombs then it is obviously all a lie. Then they should call for this very UN to either respect them or walk out on this criminal body. What's the point of hanging around! If they won't stand up for the obvious then they're only another tool by the globalists to beat anyone over the head who fails to "conform" to their twisted diktats. Maybe I'm speaking out my ass but one can always hope.

    • baz

      yes they have, they have been doing it for years. Remember the US vetoed 2 UN security counsel resolutions calling for Saddam to STOP using mustard gas and anthrax against Iran!!

      What does that tell you about us?

      Where exactly can Iran go for justice?

  • Johnny_Warbucks

    Considering how those sanctions are affecting the US, let 'em pile 'em on. Pretty soon, they'll collapse as a result of the sanctions on Iran.

  • Rick

    This is blatant U.S. terrorism against innocent Iranian citizens! But what can any individual do to stop this? We are powerless.

    • dink

      You still have the vote. Powerlessness is a state of mind. Forces conspire to make you feel powerless. History is made of incidents where the iron will of a man or woman often made the difference.
      The truth usually lies in the middle. If there is to be peace, then people need to talk and come to agreement. How much different are you from the average Persian? It is because people block off their mind that many of the world's ills exist. We are not demons neither are the Iranian people. The right wing of Israel tries to manipulate the US policy, yet, many Israelis are reasonable. When the right wing of Israel gets resistance, they are forced to change. It is often the fear of reaching out, risking and telling our leaders they are full of it at the right moment that leads our nation states in disasters.

  • dink

    "This will delay Reid’s plans to pass the bill, but Paul has failed in such congressional stand-offs in the past." observes antiwar's John Glaser. True, yet refusing to roll over and play dead is a resistance. Its anti-American to give in so easy trying to subvert our democracy. Acts of War need to debated fully in the Congress like the Constitution demands.