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Waivers Render Executive Order A Toothless Tiger

President Barack Obama signed into law the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA.) on July 1, 2010.  The law’s purpose was to convince the Iranian Government to comply with its full range of nuclear obligations, and engage in constructive negotiations on the future of its nuclear program.

On November 21, 2011, Obama signed Executive Order (EO) 13590. That EO called for sanctions on ANY entity (see Section 5) doing business with Iran, specifically buying Iranian oil. The sanctions were designed to affect financial institutions that conduct transactions with Iran’s central bank for the sale or purchase of petroleum and related products.

On April 26, 2012, Kenneth Katzman, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs at the Congressional Research Service, provided “Sanctions Targeting Foreign Energy Involvement in Iran: The Iran Sanctions Act (ISA), CISADA, and a November 2011 Executive Order” for Congress. In his report, Katzman says, “The President has had the authority under ISA to waive sanctions if he certifies that doing so is important to the U.S. national interest. CISADA changed the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) waiver standard to ‘necessary’ to the national interest.” (page 6)

Well, I guess issuing waivers has, in Obama’s mind, become necessary. In an announcement largely overshadowed by the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday, June 28, 2012, that the Obama administration was exempting China from sanctions called for in EO 13590 for continuing to buy Iran’s oil.

China’s imports of Iranian oil did decline substantially between January and May, 2012. The decline was attributed to a contract dispute between China’s state-controlled Sinopec and Iran’s National Iranian Oil Co. But when that dispute was resolved, China’s imports of Iranian crude rose again by 34.5 percent. Coincidence? You decide.

House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R – FL) said, “The administration likes to pat itself on the back for supposedly being strong on Iran sanctions. But actions speak louder than words, and today the administration has granted a free pass to Iran’s biggest enabler, China, which purchases more Iranian crude than any other country.”

Since March, 2012, a total of twenty waivers have been granted, including top Iran customers China, Japan, India, South Korea and Italy.

The signing of EO 13590 was widely covered by the MSM, predicting the new sanctions reflect an increasingly Trans-Atlantic response to Iran. The MSM predicted an expansion of the reach of existing sanctions and their potential impact on companies worldwide that interact with Iran’s financial and petroleum sectors. But with granting of waivers, EO 13590 has become a “toothless tiger,” a fact that the MSM has chosen to ignore.

But that’s just my opinion.

Please visit RWNO, my personal web site.

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