September 28, 2015 | Quote

Cardin’s Iran Bill Pleases Few on Either Side of Debate

A draft bill from Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin that aims to boost Israel’s security and constrain Iran’s potential to foment chaos in the Middle East doesn’t have many fans among both supporters and opponents of the recently concluded nuclear accord.

The latest iteration of the Iran Policy Oversight Act of 2015 removes some of the so-called poison pills that raised the ire of deal supporters and nonproliferation experts when an earlier draft was circulated at the beginning of the month. Cardin’s office said the revised legislation was “still in formation,” and specifics on the timing of its introduction will be available in the next few days.

“The bill as a whole seeks to limit and reverse the progress the Obama administration has made in tamping down tensions with Iran,” writes Tyler Cullis, a policy associate with the National Iranian American Council, in a recent analysis for LobeLog. “Certain provisions of the draft legislation threaten to incite the Iranians – most particularly, the Iranian parliament – into undertaking similar action, thereby threatening to thrust the parties back into a cycle of mutual recrimination from which they had so recently departed.”


Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said the revised measure failed to put in place “a tough enforcement regime that goes beyond what is already in the Corker-Cardin legislation (PL 114-17) and an effective framework for imposing non-nuclear sanctions on Iran for terrorism and human rights [violations].”

Dubowitz, a sanctions expert, took particular fault with new language that forbids economic penalties for non-nuclear reasons on any Iranian entity designated to receive sanctions relief under the deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

“[That] would mean that no sanctions could be imposed on the Revolutionary Guards for their support for terrorism and human rights repression,” he said. “This bill seems crafted to be opposed both by a White House that wants to see no congressional action and by those members of Congress who want to see a meaningful and substantive legislative package.”


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