Republican lawmakers in the US Senate are trying to sabotage a possible rapprochement or relaxation of tensions between the United States and Iran, says Brian Becker, an American political commentator and antiwar activist.
Becker, national coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition, a protest umbrella group consisting of many antiwar and civil rights organizations, made the remarks in a phone interview with Press TV on Thursday.
A group of Republican senators introduced a bill on Thursday to impose new sanctions against Iran over what legislators have described as Tehran’s support for terrorism and human rights violations.
The bill is sponsored by Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican presidential candidate, and Senators Mark Kirk, Kelly Ayotte, Dan Coats and Cory Gardner as well as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Nine other Republican senators have also signed on the new bill, dubbed the “Iran Terrorism and Human Rights Sanctions Act of 2016.”
The bill’s co-sponsors include Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican presidential candidate, and Senators John Cornyn, Rob Portman, Pat Roberts, Ben Sasse, Tom Cotton, Jerry Moran, Johnny Isakson and Lisa Murkowski.
The senators have accused Iran of supporting terrorism in the Middle East and committing human rights abuses.
“This recent bill introduced by Republicans in the US Congress is one more in a series of efforts by them to sabotage any kind of rapprochement or relaxation of tensions between the United States and Iran,” Becker said.
“This is a matter of political opportunism on the part of these Republican senators and others, because they want to do two things:
1) They want be able to paint President Obama’s decision to sign on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as an indication that President Obama himself is aiding and abetting so-called terrorism. In other words, they are trying to smear President Obama for having signed an agreement with Iran.
2) And at the same time they are trying — in the run up to the 2016 election — to opportunistically using the issue of Iran’s alleged links to terrorism as a campaign platform.”
Becker stated that he believes the “Iran Terrorism and Human Rights Sanctions Act of 2016” is “purely political.”
“And I don’t believe that it will really have the ability to do what the sponsors of the bill wanted it to do, which is to sabotage the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, because the United States is obligated under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action… to eliminate sanctions against Iran, not to increase, and find a pretext to increase sanctions against Iran,” he noted.
The Obama administration has advised the Republican-dominated Senate not to impose more sanctions on Iran after the historic nuclear agreement between Tehran and the world powers.
With the Iran Sanctions Act expiring at the end of this year, GOP senators are trying their best to reauthorize and impose more sanctions on Tehran on the pretext of terrorism, human rights issues, and ballistic missile tests.