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Topic - Mark Dubowitz
For all the tough talk on the international front the United States has quietly been easing some of the financial restrictions on Iran, a new investigation reveals. But, as one source suggested, the talks may have backfired — and now the White House is feeling vulnerable.
President Obama used his annual address to the United Nations on Tuesday to say he sees an opening for diplomacy with Iran and would pursue a deal to stop the Islamic republic's pursuit of nuclear weapons — but his words were soon overshadowed by the handshake that wasn't.
The debate over whether Congress approves the Obama administration's plan to strike Syria for its use of chemical weapons is being watched nowhere more closely than in Iran, where the notoriously opaque political leaders are wrestling over whether — and how — to retaliate.
The House Committee on Foreign Affairs this week will focus on Iran's support for the Syrian regime in a civil war that has claimed 100,000 lives and Iranian influence in Latin America, where an Argentine prosecutor accuses the Islamic regime of running spy networks in nine countries.
Iran's June 14 elections are expected to produce a president loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and do nothing to improve prospects for an end to its nuclear standoff with the West or support for President Bashar Assad's embattled regime in Syria.
Lawmakers are working on a set of new and unprecedented sanctions against Iran that could prevent the Islamic republic from doing business with most of the world until it agrees to international constraints on its nuclear program, officials say.
With its economy in free fall, Iran is turning to its porous borders with Iraq and other countries to skirt increasingly effective global economic sanctions, according to congressional staffers, local journalists and advocates for tough sanctions against Tehran.
An international banking clearinghouse crucial to Iran's oil sales said Friday that it is preparing to discontinue services to Iranian financial institutions, an unprecedented and potentially devastating blow to Tehran as the West ramps up a campaign to stop its nuclear program.
Iran's leaders "may be changing their mind" about pressing ahead with their nuclear program in the teeth of international sanctions, the U.S. intelligence chief told senators Thursday.
Political pressure mounted on the Obama administration Wednesday to take a tougher stance on Iran after the disclosure of a Tehran-linked plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. in a Washington restaurant.
Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee will seek to hold the Obama administration's feet to the fire on the implementation of sanctions against Iran, undercutting the president's diplomatic efforts to stifle Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
"For five months, since Rouhani's election, the United States has offered Iran two major forms of sanctions relief," said Mark Dubowitz, the executive director of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a group with a close working relationship with Congress and the White House for Iranian matters, in The Daily Beast report.
"First, there's been a significant slowdown in the pace of designations while the Iranians are proliferating the number of front companies and cutouts to bust sanctions," he said in the report.