June 16, 2006

American Policy Towards War and Peace in the Middle East, Part 2

Carroll Andrew Morse

Senators Lincoln Chafee and Jack Reed both voted against an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act introduced by Senator Rick Santorum that would have extended existing trade sanctions on Iran…

United States sanctions, controls, and regulations with respect to Iran…(relating to exports and certain other transactions with Iran) shall remain in effect until the President certifies to the Committee on International Relations of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate that the Government of Iran has verifiably dismantled its weapons of mass destruction programs,
...and would have supported democratic reform in Iran…
Congress declares that it should be the policy of the United States--

(1) to support efforts by the people of Iran to exercise self-determination over the form of government of their country; and

(2) to actively support a national referendum in Iran with oversight by international observers and monitors to certify the integrity and fairness of the referendum…

(a) Authorization.--The President is authorized, notwithstanding any other provision of law, to provide financial and political assistance (including the award of grants) to foreign and domestic individuals, organizations, and entities that support democracy and the promotion of democracy in Iran. Such assistance may include the award of grants to eligible independent pro-democracy radio and television broadcasting organizations that broadcast into Iran.

The amendment failed by a vote of 46-53. Both of Rhode Island's Senators voted for a more concise alternative, introduced by Senator Joseph Biden, that endorsed resolving the continuing conflict with Iran through diplomatic efforts...
-- Congress --

(1) endorses the policy of the United States, announced May 31, 2006, to achieve a successful diplomatic outcome, in coordination with leading members of the international community, with respect to the threat posed by the efforts of the Iranian regime to acquire a capability to produce nuclear weapons;

(2) calls on Iran to suspend fully and verifiably its enrichment and reprocessing activities, cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and enter into negotiations, including with the United States, pursuant to the package presented to Iran by the High Representative of the European Union; and

(3) urges the President and the Secretary of State to keep Congress fully and currently informed about the progress of this vital diplomatic initiative.

The Biden amendment passed by a vote of 99-0.