Obama Nixes US Sanctions on Iran

The Obama administration opposes sanctions against Iran proposed by the U.S. Congress, after supporting those passed by the U.N. Security Council.

Hana Levi Julian , | updated: 12:27

Pumping for oil near Lubbock, Texas
Pumping for oil near Lubbock, Texas
Israel news photo: Wikipedia

The Obama administration is working to balance its support of United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iran by opposing similar sanctions in the process of being formulated by the U.S. Congress.

The American version of such sanctions would punish firms that sell refined petroleum products to the Islamic Republic or help the country's oil industry in other ways. The sanctions would apply only to U.S. agencies and companies and would not be binding on other countries.

Other nations are also considering similar measures, now that the U.N. sanctions have been approved.

The White House is concerned that the Congress may go too far in imposing sanctions on those that work with firms based in countries that have cooperated with Iran, such as China, Russia and several European nations, according to the Los Angeles Times. Such a move could damage America's relationship with those countries, all of whom cooperated with the United States when it came time to vote on the United Nations sanctions against Iran.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton recently reminded U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a letter that the U.S. had promised in 1998 not to punish European countries for doing business with Iran.

In order to avoid diplomatic difficulties, the Obama administration is seeking a waiver for countries that have cooperated with the United States on Iran – but the White House may face a tough fight. The senior Republican member on House Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), called the U.N. sanctions a “goose egg.” Ros-Lehtinen is calling for Congress to beef up the international fight against the Islamic Republic's nuclear development program by imposing “crippling sanctions against Iran” on its own.