Pressure is building on the Obama administration to impose new sanctions on Iran after it test-fired two medium-range ballistic missiles within the past three months and flaunted its underground missile storage facilities on national television.
Even Democratic lawmakers who supported the Iran nuclear deal are calling for fresh U.S. sanctions as the Islamic republic embarks on a stepped-up missile program, despite warnings that the measures could derail the landmark agreement’s implementation, which is just weeks away.
Impatience among lawmakers boiled over after the administration notified Congress last week that it would send over a new sanctions package and then said a few hours later that nothing would be coming after all, at least for now. It is unclear how much of the delay was the result of diplomatic calculations vs. routine procedural hurdles.
House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (Md.), who supported the nuclear deal and now wants more sanctions, said he expects a new package to be presented “in a matter of days, not weeks.”
At the heart of the delay, though, is a dilemma that may become a new norm when the nuclear deal takes effect, as officials must weigh whether more restrictions, or none at all, would produce the worse outcome.
“There are no risk-free options,” said Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran analyst with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “Sanctioning Iran now could unravel the nuclear deal. Yet acquiescing in the face of Iranian provocations could embolden Iran.”
The concern stems from two missile tests Iran announced in October and November. Since then, President Hassan Rouhani ordered the Iranian military to accelerate its production. Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami, who is second in command in the Revolutionary Guard Corps, has boasted that Iran has so many missiles that it doesn’t know where to store them all. And the parliamentary speaker has gone on television touring a new underground bunker called “Missile City.”
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SOURCE: Carol Morello
The Washington Post