Neocon Press Slams Obama as Trying to ‘Soften’ Iran Sanctions

Longstanding Exemption Call Spun as 'Under the Table' Plot

The Obama Administration’s longstanding quest for a “China exemption” to the unilateral sanctions moving through Congress is coming under attack from the Washington Times, and by extension other neocon sources quoting the Washington Times, as a covert effort to “water down” the sanctions.

Hawkish Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R – FL) is quoted as claiming the administration is trying to pass the move “under the table and winking and nodding.”

But the Obama Administration has never made any secret of the fact that it has been seeking this so-called “cooperating countries” provision, which would allow the president to exempt nations from complying with the US unilateral sanctions.

Moreover, this isn’t a sudden moment of sanity for an administration endlessly pressing for new sanctions against Iran, but part of an effort to sell the UN Security Council sanctions to China and Russia in return for immunity from complying with the unilateral sanctions.

Implicit in this strategy is the assumption that China’s only objection to the sanctions is their own growing business interest in Iran. Absent is any question of the wisdom of the US launching the unilateral sanctions, or the UN sanctions, in the first place.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.