• 29 October 2009
  • Posted By Lloyd Chebaclo
  • Congress, Sanctions

Washington, DC – The Senate Banking Committee passed a broad set of Iran sanctions today, despite one Senator saying that the act was opposed by U.S. Department of State. The unanimous vote, 23-0 in favor, papered over differences that emerged in the hearing.  Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) raised repeated objections to the bill.  “This is a tacit vote of no confidence [against the Obama administration],” Corker said.  During an exchange with a colleague after the vote, Corker revealed the “State Department actually did not want to see this happen.”

Democratic supporters of the bill strongly disagreed with the notion that they were undermining President Obama.  Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) contended that the legislation “is about strengthening the administration’s hand at the end of the day, not weakening it.”  Senator Dodd agreed with Menendez, though he confessed, “I’ve never met yet an administration of any stripe or color that welcomed Congressional intervention of any kind.”

This bill follows the House Foreign Affairs Committee sanctions bill passed yesterday. Like the House bill, this one expands unilateral, extraterritorial sanctions and targets companies exporting refined petroleum to Iran or helping to develop Iran’s oil refining industry.  Other provisions would make American companies liable if their foreign subsidiaries do business in Iran, and would codify the embargo on goods shipped to and from Iran, including pistachios, Persian carpets, and caviar.

The bill, introduced by the Chair of the committee, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), would make it so the President can no longer lift the embargo on Iran without Congressional approval.

Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) argued the sanctions were long past due. “How many more secret nuclear facilities will it take before we realize that we need to take some sort of retaliatory actions?” asked Bunning.

But Corker argued unilateral sanctions would be counterproductive. “At the end of the day, they have almost no effect, no effect in reality on refined petroleum.” He said the main effect would be “hurting companies that are actually in our friends’ countries, that are helping us with Iran,” if Russia and China did not cooperate.

An amendment by Corker stating that multilateral sanctions are preferable to unilateral ones was unanimously adopted, but the Senator withdrew an amendment that would have changed the binding provisions into permissive ones, giving authorities but not mandates to the President.

Corker ultimately voted in favor of the bill with the rest of the committee, saying that the sanctions could be helpful and that he looked forward to working with his colleagues to improve the bill as it moves forward.

Posted By Lloyd Chebaclo

    13 Responses to “Senate Cmte. Passes Sanctions, Despite State Dept. Opposition”

  1. Pirouz says:

    AIPAC and the Israel lobby at work. These bills are so not in the interest of the American and Iranian people, it isn’t even funny. Unbelievable how ordinary Americans are forced to tolerate such a corrosive, manipulating, foreign influence on its own affairs. Iran was forced to tolerate this kind of thing on its own affairs before the advent of its 1979 revolution.

    Say what you will about the Islamic Republic, but at least its Middle East foreign policy is not slave to foreign manipulation.

  2. john says:

    oh so china and russia are not manipulating Iran and Mr. Khamenei.

  3. Roya says:

    It is unfortunate that cooler heads did not prevail in the Congressional vote, but I am not sure it was the result of foreign manipulation — domestic politics hard at work, I think. I am curious, though, about your strong statement about the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy. It seems domestic politics is hard at work there as well. I also see an alignment of interests with Russia and China.

    Pirouz, I think you can be a friend to Iran and criticize its governing. With your recent posts, I feel that you don’t agree with this statement. Anyway, your points are interesting, if sweeping in nature.

  4. Iranian-American says:

    You are correct that this is AIPAC at work. You are also correct that this is not in the interest of the American or Iranian people (or Israeli people for that matter).

    You are incorrect to think that the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy is not a slave. It is even worse than the American foreign policy. Iran’s Middle East foreign policy is a slave to the most extreme elements in Palestine and Lebanon. Our people live in poverty while we give money to extremist elements in Arab countries. Our support for Hamas in particular is not in the interest of the Iranian people and not in the interest of Palestinian people.

    As long as Iran’s foreign policy is a slave to foreign manipulation, I would much rather it be a slave to manipulation from a country like the America so that Iran gets something in return. I bet the Hamas has a good laugh every time they count the money they take from Iran.

    I’ve noticed you have learned the Mahmoud Debate Strategy. If Iran does something wrong, the answer is, “Well how about this similar thing that happened in .”

    Many times, the analogy is completely ridiculous (e.g. comparing the Basij killing of Neda and the subsequent harassment of her family by the government, to the brutal murder of a pregnant Egyptian woman in Germany by a crazy man that will almost certainly get the maximum sentence for his crime). I really hope I don’t have to explain why that analogy is ridiculous.

    Sometimes the analogy is not so ridiculous, and to your defense, most of the analogies you bring up are not ridiculous (e.g. American governments treatment of war protestors in the 60’s and 70’s). I say most, because you have also had some ridiculous analogies (e.g. Waco is nothing like beating/killing innocent protestors). Again, I hope I do not have to elaborate on this point, because I won’t. It should be clear.

    One would need to be delusional to think that you can compare America’s actions in the 60’s and 70’s to what the Iranian government is doing today. There are numerous reports of rapes. This is nothing new. The Islamic Republic has been doing this since it started. The Iranian government has killed innocent protestors and it is clear that there will never be justice for those victims and their families.

    America has an ugly past. The America government has done wrong, but the Iranian government has done and continues to do a thousand times worse. The American government may not be in the position to take THE moral high ground, but the American government is in the position to the the “morally higher ground” than the Iranian government. At least the American government does not currently, and has never, imposed the kind and extent of barbaric and repressive practices on its own people that we have witnessed and continue to witness in Iran.

    As an Iranian-American, I have no problem saying that today I am proud of my American government and I am embarrassed by my Iranian government. Iran is ruled by the most backwards and incompetent segment of its population. There is nothing there to be proud of.

    On the other hand, as an Iranian-American, I can say that never have the American people made me as proud as the Iranian people have for how they are standing up in the face of repression to a government that does not deserve to rule such a good people.

  5. Kyle says:

    Well, I can be happy in knowing that a representative from my home state (Dennis Kucinich) at least had the presence of mind to vote against these terrible measures. But I am also saddened see again that the legislative wing of our government is no less corrupt than the governments of developing nations across the world that ol’ Barry and Hilary like to chide for their lack of ‘good governance’. What a terrible hypocritical sham our government has become.

  6. Pirouz says:

    The truth be told, I voted Green in the presidential election. And I suffer no illusions about certain deficiencies in the Islamic Republic (particularly in regards to its relatively weak Judiciary system). That being said, I am not a cheerleader for every bit of information that can be interpreted in the least bit as something negative about Iran. I abhor the current trend of Iran bashing, particularly by people of Iranian origin or descent. And based on the only hard data available, I’m led to believe that actual dissent against the IRI is relatively low compared to the political mainstream of people living inside Iran.

    I must confess that I am in fact half American, half Iranian. The United States is not my adopted country; I was born here to an American mother and an Iranian father decades before the Islamic Revolution took place. So if I’m quick to point out hypocrisy, show criticism for US foreign policy, or make historical comparisons to my American experience, realize that I am merely sharing a vantage point you may or may not consider illuminating. I have also had the privilege of living and studying in Iran and have traveled across sections of the Middle East.

    As for Iran’s foreign policy, I am proud of the role it played in liberating Lebanon from decades of Israeli occupation, and I am equally impressed by its resilient commitment to freeing our Palestinian cousins from Zionist captivity and oppression. I ask you, if not Iran, who else?

    The fact that Iran remains free and independent from Israeli-US hegemony is the real source of Zionist antipathy toward the Islamic Republic, and why Zionists expend so much energy in manipulating our elected US leaders into positions that are so obviously not in the interests of ordinary Americans, Iranians and, yes you are right, even ordinary Israelis.

  7. Ali says:

    Iran’s support for Hezbollah and Hamas is completely in line with our national interests. The Zionists have been making almost daily threats of attacking Iran for the past 6 years. Is Iran supposed to just sit around and smile? The victory of Hebollah in 2006 completely helped Iranian interests and was a game changer in regional politics. This was a direct result of Iranian aid to Hezbollah.

    As an Iranian-American I am utterly disgusted at America’s attrocities throughout the world, whether in Africa, Latin America, or the Middle East. And despite all it’s flaws in internal policy, I am proud of Iran’s foriegn policy, standing up against the global imperialists.

  8. Someone says:

    You don’t have to forsake anti-imperialism to embrace human rights. The two are not mutually exclusive.

    And yes, of course there are U.S. operatives all over the world, including in Iran. But their presence cannot be used to deny Iranians their rights. Why should innocent Iranians be collectively punished because of U.S. policy?

  9. Iranian-American says:

    I can understand how one could be proud of a country for supporting the Palestinian (and Lebanese) people while the rest of the world seems to have turned their back on them. I can understand where that feeling of pride comes from.

    Do you truly believe that the Iranian government is worried about those poor Lebanese or Palestinians? Or is it a convenient excuse to deter the country Iran fears most by supporting militias hostile to that country?

    Excuse my for the hypothetical question, but if the Palestinians were offered a peace deal by Israel that a majority of Palestinian people supported, which would be bring less suffering to future generations of Palestinians, do you think Iran would support that or do you think Iran would realize it had more to gain by more conflict, and therefore try to come up with a way to sabotage the deal. “Oh I know, why don’t we get a 14-yr old Palestinian kid whose dad was killed last year by Israel, strap a bomb on him, and suggest our friends over there at the Hamas tell him that the fastest way to heaven is blowing up a night club with Israeli teenagers inside.”

    I just have a hard time believing the same Iranian government that would kill an innocent girl on the streets of Iran would care so deeply about innocent Palestinians.

    Perhaps it is in line with Iran’s national interest. It is a fair argument, though I would argue that Iranian government today has more to gain for its people by providing less support to such groups. I believe it would give Iran more friends in the world, and would make it difficult for the Israeli-US hegemony that Pirouz mentioned to threaten Iran with sanctions or military action.

    I suspect that the Iranian government has realized it has more to gain by supporting such groups, but not for the Iranian people. I think they realize as long as there is conflict in the Middle East, and as long as Israel is killing Palestinians with American weapons, they can stay in power by deflecting from the injustices they commit by pointing to those committed by their favorite bad guys: US and Israel.

    I just have a hard time believing that the Iranian government is so brilliant with their foreign policy when its president even mentions Holocaust after being accused (whether justly or unjustly) of wanting to wipe Israel off the map. I just don’t see how that is good for Iran’s national interest.

    I wish I could see the Iranian government as noble and brave as Pirouz does and as competent as Ali does. Maybe I’m just too cynical.

  10. Alireza says:

    What Ali calls “flaws in internal policy” would, in non-Orwellian terms, refer to the IRI’s proven track record of executing over 15,000 Iranians since its inception in 1979. I wonder if Ali is “utterly disgusted” at that track record (as he rightfully is at U.S. foreign policy–which is disgusting to me too)?

  11. Roya says:

    There is no current trend of Iran bashing — what Iranians all over the world and in the homeland are protesting against is the breathtaking arrogance of a militaristic wing of the conservative establishment – not Iran. They are NOT one and the same. I think, rather, we (I include myself) are supporting the aspirations of the vast number of people in Iran who want to live like the rest of the world. The majority of the informed diaspora in the US wants engagement with Iran, fought against horrible misconceptions about the country, wrote to their representatives, used facilitators like NIAC, all in the hopes of normalcy for Iran and its people. When the terrible and violent events in June took place, all our hopes for our families and friends in Iran were dashed. I can only do so much from the US to show support but I will do so in any way I can. So when you talk about current trends of Iran bashing, you are insulting the hundreds of thousands of Iranians in the diaspora who have very deep convictions. You can have your point of view, but you have no right to judge the motivations of those of us who are left with writing responses to your gratuitous commentary. So, long live the homeland and its people. This note is in honor of my cousin, F., a thrice wounded veteran of the Iran-Iraq war, an extremely religious man, and who protests against this current regime on the streets of Tehran with his equally conservative, chadori wife every chance he gets.

  12. Adam K says:

    Iran, who sponsors terror should have been stopped from developing any nuclear facility. These sanctions are important. to stop Iran from giving Hezbollah and Hamas nuclear dirty bombs. Sooner or later the United States or Israel is going to have to go into Iran and destroy these facilities. hopefully they will not wait to long

  13. Alireza says:

    Just because I disagree with IRI sympathizers like Ali and, of course, Sargord Pirouz does not mean that I go along with the lies and propaganda of people like Adam K and their nonsense about “dirty bombs”. Whenever these recycled lies from 2002-03 are vomited up, one needs to treat them with the scorn that they deserve and point to the misery that is Iraq.

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Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.



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