Congress Iran Hawks Back Off — for Now

New Sanctions Could Kick In If Deal Falters

Big Stick: Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and other Iran hawks are planning to propose new sanctions that would kick in if the nuclear deal falters.
Big Stick: Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and other Iran hawks are planning to propose new sanctions that would kick in if the nuclear deal falters.

By Ron Kampeas

Published November 26, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(JTA) — They want to brandish a new stick against Iran, but hawks in Congress aren’t going to use it — yet.

For all the disappointment they expressed following the deal on Iran’s nuclear program, skeptics in Congress appear to be willing to give the agreement brokered by the Obama administration space to breathe — albeit with tough new punitive measures in place should Iran fail to live up to its end of the bargain.

“I will continue working with my colleagues to craft bipartisan legislation that will impose tough new economic sanctions if Iran undermines this interim accord or if the dismantlement of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure is not underway by the end of this six-month period,” U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), a leader in passing Iran sanctions, said after the deal’s announcement on Saturday night.

That’s a shift from pre-deal statements in which Kirk was leading an effort to push through new sanctions not conditioned on the outcome of talks between the United States and other world powers and Iran.

Proponents of a tougher line against Iran say the sanctions talk wasn’t an empty threat and helped shaped the outcome of the interim deal. Moreover, Congress is not dropping the stick: Kirk and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, are preparing new sanctions legislation to take effect if Iran violates the interim deal.

The two senators “will be working over the Senate recess to craft a bipartisan sanctions bill that establishes a mandatory fail-safe to this interim agreement, ensuring sanctions come back in spades if Iran cheats during the next six months or if Iran’s nuclear infrastructure is not being dismantled at the end of the six-month period,” a congressional aide told JTA in an email. “We should expect this legislation to go to the president’s desk for signature before the end of the year.”

But it’s not clear if pro-sanctions lawmakers have backing from the Senate leadership for new sanctions.

“I said when we come back, we’ll take a look at this to see if we need stronger sanctions, ” Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the majority leader, said Monday in an NPR interview quoted by Roll Call, a Capitol Hill daily. Reid said Menendez and Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, will study the issue.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.