Robert Gates, Jim Jones, and other US officials traipsing in and out of Israel this week have told Israeli officials to stop “ranting and raving” about Iran for, oh, about eight more weeks.
Eight weeks! According to Haaretz, the liberal Israeli daily, that’s how much time they’re willing to give Iran to start talking. Let’s hope that Iran does start talking by then, but if they don’t, well, then it’ll take longer. But the Obama administration seems set on tougher sanctions after that.
Perhaps the most unintentionally hilarious part of the Haaretz report is that Jones and Co. told the Israelis about the progress of Joe Liberman-sponsored sanctions legislation in the US Senate. Said the paper:
“Jones and his team reported that a bill by Senator Joe Lieberman to curb sales of refined oil products to Iran is almost complete, and 67 senators have already signed it.”
Just a guess, but I think top Israeli officials are well aware of what the vaunted minions of the Israel lobby are doing in Washington. In fact, yesterday the Senate passed a bill that gets that sanctions ball rolling, according to Reuters:
“To pressure Tehran to give up its nuclear program, the U.S. Senate has voted to ban companies that sell gasoline and other refined oil products to Iran from also receiving Energy Department contracts to deliver crude to the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve.”
According to Haaretz, the new sanctions under consideration by the administration include a ban gasoline and refined petroleum imports by Iran:
“New sanctions would mainly aim to significantly curb Tehran’s ability to import refined petroleum products. Despite its huge crude oil reserves, Iran has only limited refining capacity, so it imports large quantities of refined products such as gasoline.”
“The Americans are proposing financial sanctions such as banning insurance on trade deals with Tehran, which would make it difficult for Iran to trade with other countries. They also want to impose sanctions on any company that trades with Iran and use this to pressure other countries, mainly in Asia, to resist making deals with Iran.