Friday, December 2, 2011

U.S. Senate unanimously approves crippling sanctions on Iran's Central Bank

(Latimes, IsraelHayom).Disregarding White House opposition, the Senate unanimously approved new sanctions on Iran as part of a defense bill Thursday night — and then passed the legislation, which already faced a veto threat because it would require military custody for certain detainees suspected of terrorism.

The Iran sanctions were approved despite heated warnings from administration officials that such a move could shake oil prices and jolt the struggling economy.

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner expressed the administration's "strong opposition," saying the measure threatened to undermine international efforts to pressure Iran to forego its nuclear ambitions and could fuel them.

Undeterred, senators passed the sanctions, 100 to 0.

"This is the right amendment at the right time sending the right message in the face of a very irresponsible regime," said Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), one of the authors.

"Given what appears to be a shortening timeline until Iran has a potential nuclear weapon, it would seem that we are not doing enough fast enough," said coauthor Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).

"Iran's actions are unacceptable and pose a danger to the United States and the entire world," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said. "Iran supports terrorist groups, arms the killers of American soldiers, lies about its nuclear program, violates its citizens' basic rights and threatens Israel's security."