The Obama administration’s lack of seriousness when it comes to Iran is on display once again. Congress is considering the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act, which will ramp up pressure on Iran by penalizing foreign companies that prop up Iran’s economy by selling Iran gasoline or equipment to refine petroleum. But the Obama administration wants to add to the bill a provision that would render the act a nullity by exempting China and Russia from its terms:
The Obama administration is pressing Congress to provide an exemption from Iran sanctions to companies based in “cooperating countries,” a move that likely would exempt Chinese and Russian concerns from penalties meant to discourage investment in Iran. …
“It’s incredible the administration is asking for exemptions, under the table and winking and nodding, before the legislation is signed into law,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Florida Republican and a conference committee member, said in an interview. A White House official confirmed Wednesday that the administration was pushing the conference committee to adopt the exemption of “cooperating countries” in the legislation.
Neither the House nor Senate version of the bill includes a “cooperating countries” provision even though the administration asked the leading sponsors of the Senate version of the bill nearly six months ago to include one. …
Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen…said the exemption “is aimed at China and Russia specifically.”
“The administration wants to give a pass to countries for merely supporting a watered-down, almost do-nothing U.N. resolution,” she said.
In foreign policy, the Obama administration is setting a new standard for fecklessness.