Obama’s Persian roulette

By Jonathan Greenberg, originally published in The Hill

Until this past Tuesday, Congress was considering new, bipartisan legislation that could result in new sanctions on Iran as it continues to pursue the ability to develop nuclear weapons. The bill, sponsored by Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) was believed to have veto-proof backing in Congress. That was until Democrats, under significant pressure from the White House (including directly from the president) decided to fold in the face of Iranian stall tactics.

This follows an episode earlier this month in which U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry claimed that an unnamed Israeli intelligence official said that enacting Kirk-Menendez would be “like throwing a grenade into the process.”

Earlier, reports surfaced that Mossad officials had told a bipartisan congressional delegation – including Senate Foreign Relations Chair Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Senate Armed Services Chair John McCain (R-Ariz.) – that the Israeli intelligence agency had concerns about new sanctions. Then, last week, Mossad chief Tamir Pardo released a statement contradicting these reports and saying that the Mossad is not lobbying U.S. lawmakers against new sanctions.

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