Obama flunkies doublecross Senate on sanctions

December 4, 2011

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) wanted a tougher set of sanctions against Iran, particularly against the Central Bank of Iran and any foreign banks still doing business with it.  Pres. Obama’s underlings objected, saying it would restrict oil sales by Iran and increase the international price of oil, damage the world economic recovery, and turn off our allies who supposedly (contrary to all recent evidence) support a slower approaching to sanctions tightening.  But the underlings claimed that they shared the same goal as Sen. Menendez, and would work with him to develop a compromise acceptable to the White House.

So people like David S. Cohen, Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, worked diligently over the last couple weeks to water down the amendment to the defense authorization bill that Menendez and Republican Sen. Ron Kirk jointly proposed.  Once Obama’s Treasury and State officials had forced a significant number of exceptions, waivers, and escape clauses into the amendment, Sen. Menendez thought the legislation was ready for bipartisan support in the Senate and support by the Obama administration.

Suddenly, during a Senate foreign relations committee hearing on Dec. 1, the Obama bureaucrats pulled the rug out from under Sen. Menendez, and came out against even the watered down financial sanctions.  The video from an impassioned Sen. Menendez is a must-watch for insight into how this administration behaves:

Immediately after Sen. Menendez finished his remarks about the bureaucrats “vitiating” the amendment, Sen. John Kerry quipped that they didn’t vitiate it, they villified it.  With that, the Obama flunkies had succeeded in alienating Senate Democrats on this matter, who then defied the White House and joined with Republicans to approve the amendment by a vote of 100 to zero.

The president will veto the bill over an unrelated matter, further delaying stronger sanctions.

Meanwhile, allies who supposedly want to move slower, like France, are pushing for a blanket oil embargo on Iran.  The officials at Treasury constantly try to convince the public that Iran faces enormous pressure from existing sanctions, and Mr. Cohen always trots out some graph depicting the falling market value of the Iranian rial against the U.S. dollar.  Sir, if a nuclear bomb lands on Tel Aviv, will you still be lecturing us on the great job Treasury did at weakening the Iranian rial?

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