Kentucky’s senior senator, U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, came to the Senate floor this morning and spoke in favor of a proposed amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill that he introduced on behalf of Sen. Mark Kirk (Rep., Ill.). The amendment would impose sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran, in retaliation for Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
Quoting President Obama as saying that “An Iranian regime armed with a nuclear weapon is unacceptable,” the senator observed that, “It’s become commonplace for political leaders to state that an Iranian regime armed with a nuclear weapon is unacceptable. Unfortunately, the Iranian regime has not been deterred from conducting activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.”
McConnel then cited the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency of November 8, 2011, which clearly indicates that Iran has worked on the development of an indigenous design for a nuclear weapon, including the testing of components, and that Iran has failed to answer all of the IAEA’s questions concerning the military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program.
He also commented on last month’s Quds force plot to assassinate the ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the United States. “Iran remains undeterred, and the United States is left with fewer options for dealing with the Iranian nuclear program as time elapses,” he said.
Calling Sen. Kirk’s amendment worthy of “supporting and pursuing,” McConnel concluded that adding to current sanctions against Iran by targeting the Central Bank of Iran would constitute one of the few remaining actions—short of an embargo of Iranian shipping and military intervention—to slow or end the Iranian nuclear program.
Earlier this month, Paul Richter reported in the Los Angeles Times that the Obama administrated was backing away from its previous suggestion that plot to kill Saudi Arabia's ambassador on U.S. soil justified stringent economic sanctions. Despite the declarations of U.S. officials that they would "hold Iran accountable" for the purported plot, Richter reported that the administration now decided that a proposed move against Iran's central bank could “disrupt international oil markets” and “further damage the reeling American and world economies.”
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