Sunday, June 13, 2010
Obama seeks to soften U.S. Congress sanctions on Iran
The Obama administration is worried that proposed congressional bills targeting Iran's energy sector would harm ties with Europe, Russia and China, the Los Angeles Times reported. By Haaretz Service and Reuters Tags: Israel news Iran nuclear Barack Obama The Obama administration is working to soften U.S. congressional legislation that, if passed, would target Iran's energy sector, the Los Angeles Times reported on Friday. According to the report, administration officials have begun negotiations with congressional leaders, who are crafting bills that would punish companies that sell refined petroleum products to Iran or aid the country's oil industry. The Obama administration fears that such legislation would harm relations with Europe, Russia and China, whose support was essential in passing on Wednesday a fourth round of UN sanctions against Iran. There is strong support in both houses of Congress for U.S. sanctions that would be stricter than the new UN sanctions imposed on Iran. The congressional legislation would apply only to U.S. polices and agencies and would not be binding on other countries. The European Union is also reportedly considering additional measures to supplement the UN sanctions. In its negotiations with congressional leaders, the Obama administration is seeking the authority to waive U.S. punishment against companies that have cooperated on efforts against Iran's nuclear program. Iran has vowed to continue its nuclear program, which it says is for peaceful energy purposes, despite the new UN sanctions. On Saturday, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, was quoted in the Resalat daily as saying that Iran would unveil a new nuclear achievement in the next few months.