United States Delays New Sanctions on Iran without Explanation

United States Delays New Sanctions on Iran without Explanation
Fri Jan 1, 2016 13:07:43

Washington notified Congress on Wednesday the day after ratification of new Iran sanctions that Treasury Department would implement them on Iran for its recent missile tests.

However, when it came time, the Obama Administration reportedly delayed implementing the sanctions without offering the reason why it had done so, the Russian TV (RT) reported on Friday.

The heads-up to Congress specified Thursday at 10:30 am as the time the new sanctions were to come into effect. The new penalties were to be imposed on just under a dozen companies and individuals from Iran, Hong Kong, and the United Arab Emirates that the US believes have been involved in Iran’s ballistic missile tests, which took place earlier this month.

But come 11:12 am on Thursday, House of Representatives and Senate members received word that the announcement was going to be “delayed for a few hours,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Nearly 11 hours later, however, around 10:00 pm, a White House email was sent, reading, “We are considering various aspects related to additional designations, as well as evolving diplomatic work that is consistent with our national security interests, and as such we will not be announcing any additional designations today. We will continue to keep you informed as we work through the remaining issues.”

It is difficult to gauge the rationale for such a statement, because the US officials have said Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Javad Zarif are almost always within reach of each other, and the White House maintains it is still opposed to Iran’s missile defense program, leaving the Treasury Department’s sanctions on the table.

Republican lawmakers, however, haven’t hesitated to voice criticism over the postponement.

“If the president’s announced sanctions ultimately aren’t executed, it would demonstrate a level of fecklessness that even the president hasn’t shown before,” Representative Mike Pompeo (R-Kansas) told the Wall Street Journal.

On Thursday morning, the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tweeted, “In response to new US sanctions” planned against Iran’s ballistic missile program, ordered the Iranian Defense Minister to expedite the program.

The President Rouhani less than an hour later, Tweeted, “If US continues its illegitimate interference… Iran’s right to defend itself a new program will be devised to enhance missile capabilities;” IRNA reported.


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