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Entries in Sanctions (4)

Wednesday
Jan092013

Chuck Hagel, Obama Differ on Iran Sanctions

Junko Kimura/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As has been well documented, not everyone is so pleased that President Obama nominated former Senate colleague Chuck Hagel, a Republican, as the next secretary of defense.

Some of that has to do with Iran sanctions.  Groups like the Republican Jewish Coalition and the Emergency Committee for Israel have noted that Hagel opposed them repeatedly when he was a senator -- a big no-no among Israel hawks. 

ECI, meanwhile, has blasted Hagel for opposing military action against Iran as irresponsible.

Iran sanctions came up during the presidential race last year, as Mitt Romney and Republicans blasted Obama for going the multilateral route, eschewing U.S.-originated unilateral sanctions and instead gathering international support.

While one might assume that Hagel falls neatly in line with this Obama sanctions paradigm -- multilateral good, unilateral less effective -- it’s worth noting that Hagel found himself on the opposite side of Iran-sanctions bills from Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and new secretary of state nominee John Kerry.

A few notable instances, pointed out to ABC News by an Iran-sanctions expert:

  • Hagel did not cosponsor the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act of 2007, which urged the president to designate the Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group; 72 senators, including Obama, Biden, and Kerry, cosponsored the bill.
  • In July 2001, the Senate overwhelmingly extended the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act, which requires the president to “penalize” foreign companies that invest more than $20 million in Iran’s energy sector.  The extension passed 96-2.  Hagel voted against it along with Republican Sen. Richard Lugar, who later enjoyed a good relationship with Obama as ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  Biden and Kerry both voted for it.
  • In August 2008, Hagel opposed the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act in the Senate Banking Committee, as it passed on a 19-2 vote.  With Hagel no longer in the Senate, the measure passed 99-0 in 2010.  Kerry voted for it, and Obama signed it that year.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb062012

Obama Orders New Sanctions Against Iran’s Central Bank

BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As tensions continue to rise over Tehran’s nuclear program, President Obama on Monday announced new sanctions against Iran’s financial institutions, saying they have engaged in “deceptive practices.”

“I have determined that additional sanctions are warranted, particularly in light of the deceptive practices of the Central Bank of Iran and other Iranian banks to conceal transactions of sanctioned parties, the deficiencies in Iran’s anti-money laundering regime and the weaknesses in its implementation, and the continuing and unacceptable risk posed to the international financial system by Iran’s activities,” the president wrote in a letter to Congress.

The executive order states that all assets of the Iranian government and banks held in the United States are, “blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn or otherwise dealt in.” The sanctions were included as an amendment to the defense authorization bill that Obama signed into law at the end of 2011.

The move comes amid speculation of a possible Israeli attack on Iran. On Sunday, Obama stressed that diplomacy was still the “preferred solution.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec022010

Embattled Rep. Charles Rangel Censured: 'I'm Not Going to Be Judged by This Congress'

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Veteran Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., Thursday became the first U.S. House member in 27 years to be censured after a long trial that resulted in him being convicted on 11 counts of ethics violations.

The censure, the highest punishment short of expulsion, is reserved for serious offenses and requires the member in question to stand before his or her colleagues while a censure resolution is read.

An amendment reducing the punishment to reprimand prior to the final vote failed overwhelmingly.

The censure has been used only 23 times in the history of the U.S. House of Representatives. The last time a member of Congress was censured was 1983, when then-Rep. Dan Crane, R-Ill., and Rep. Gerry Studds, D-Mass., faced the penalty for having sexual relationships with minors.

Rangel, a veteran who has served in the House since 1971, stood Thursday in the front of members of Congress on Thursday afternoon flanked by his supporters while a somber Speaker Nancy Pelosi read the resolution rebuking his conduct.

The 80-year-old congressman apologized for the "awkward position" he's put his family and friends in, but reiterated that he did not commit the violations for personal gains.

"In my heart I truly feel good," he said. "I know in my heart that I'm not going to be judged by this Congress, that I'm going to be judged by my life, my activities, my contributions to society, and I apologize for the awkward position that some of you are in."

The 80-year-old, who was recently the chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, earlier Thursday argued for a lesser punishment. He made his case again on the House floor, saying he shouldn't be given a penalty that is reserved for corrupt politicians.

Last month, the House ethics committee found Rangel guilty of 11 of 13 violations of House rules, including using official resources improperly to raise funds from businesses and foundations for a center at the City College of New York that's named after him.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov182010

Rep. Charles Rangel: House Panel Chooses Censure, Restitution

Photo Courtesy - ABC News (WASHINGTON) -- The House Ethics Committee on Thursday voted to recommend the censure of New York Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel, who was found guilty earlier this week of multiple violations of House rules.

By a vote of nine to one, the panel of five Republicans and five Democrats agreed with chief committee counsel R. Blake Chisam, who had recommended the penalty. It also recommended that Rangel be required to pay restitution on unpaid taxes.

The full House must now vote on whether to approve the penalty or impose a different one.

"We have worked hard together in this matter in a way that has been actually quite wrenching," said committee chairwoman Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif. "We are satisfied to be concluded."

If the House votes to approve the sanction -- a simple majority is needed -- Rangel would then be forced to appear in the well of the House, where members stand when they address the chamber, and hear the charges against him read by the Speaker of the House.

The penalty of censure is reserved for "more serious" offenses, according to House rules, and is the most stringent punishment Congress can impose short of expulsion.

Rangel, 80, once the powerful chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, stood silently before the committee as chairwoman Lofgren read their decision.

He then said again he hoped the committee would make "abundantly clear" in its report to the full House that he hadn't benefitted personally from his wrongdoing.

On Tuesday, the committee found Rangel guilty of 11 of 13 ethics charges, ranging from improper fundraising, inappropriate possession of multiple rent-controlled apartments and failure to pay taxes on a vacation home.

Rangel's censure by the ethics committee is only the fourth time such a penalty has been imposed in committee history. It has rendered four expulsions, three censures and nine reprimands.

The House most recently censured Rep. Gerry Studds in 1983 for inappropriate sexual behavior with a congressional page.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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