Congressional members gave the thumbs-up to new sanctions against Iran, ignoring the insistence of the White House to keep in place agreements forged by President Obama and his team with Tehran.
Secretary of State John Kerry, for instance, has been pressing Congress in recent weeks to leave alone deals and concessions made under Obama’s watch. But lawmakers apparently shrugged off the pressure.
The Washington Free Beacon has the story:
“The Obama administration, including Secretary of State John Kerry, made a final push in recent weeks to convince lawmakers to abandon the new sanctions, but lawmakers remained firm on Thursday, voting 99-0 to approve the new sanctions. Even Democrats who have supported the White House’s diplomacy voted in favor of the sanctions.
“Senior Iranian officials have been adamant that new sanctions would violate last summer’s nuclear agreement and have threatened multiple times in recent months to walk away from the deal if the United States does not meet all of its demands under the deal.
“A State Department official told the Free Beacon the department is focused on ensuring that Iran continues to implement its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA when asked about its position on the sanctions bill.”
Obama’s vowed and threatened to veto the sanctions.
But then there’s this: He’s soon leaving office.
Again, from the Free Beacon:
“[S]ources told the Free Beacon that mounting opposition to the deal may make this difficult for the White House, which has been working in its final months to preserve the diplomatic agreement before President-elect Donald Trump assumes control.
“As lawmakers pave the way for Trump to undo the deal, the Obama administration is working furiously in its final days to preserve a deal that officials describe as a signature piece of Obama’s time in office….
“‘The administration is attempting anything and everything possible to make the deal irreversible,’ said one senior congressional aide familiar with Obama administration attempts to preserve the deal. ‘In short, this means more giveaways to Iran at the expense of our own national security.’”
And just one more nugget, from the Free Beacon:
“Rep. Ileana Ros Lehtinen (R., Fla.), a vocal opponent of the nuclear deal, told the Free Beacon following the vote that the Obama administration is not likely to be happy with the outcome.
“‘The only actions President Obama should be taking on Iran over these next few weeks is to vigorously and fully implement all sanctions against the regime and enforce all restrictions against its nuclear program,’ she said. ‘But we shouldn’t expect that to happen, as we’ve already seen Iran attempt to manipulate the White House into blocking the Iran Sanctions Act extension—which was an unsuccessful effort—by absurdly claiming it would violate the JCPOA.’
“Congress will continue to work against the administration’s pro-Iran efforts, Ros-Lehtinen said.”