Lawmakers Defend USAID ‘Cuban Twitter’ Program

Program used front companies, offshore bank accounts to spread mass text messages
AP

Recent criticism of the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) social media project in Cuba has put the future of vital democracy promotion programs in doubt, experts say.

Senate Insiders: Obama Admin Lying About Bid to Kill Iran Sanctions

Source: Top Treasury, White House officials tried to dismantle sanctions law
Treasury Under Secretary David Cohen / AP

Senate insiders say that senior Treasury Department officials have been lying for years about their backroom efforts to oppose and dismantle Iran sanctions legislation that ultimately forced Tehran to the bargaining table over its illicit nuclear program.

Senators: Iran-Russia Trade Deal Opens Floodgates for Nuke Materials, Weapons

Experts, lawmakers warn $20B trade deal violates nuke deal
Russian S-300 air defense missile system / AP

Iran and Russia’s recently announced $20 billion oil-for-goods trade deal has sparked concerns that Moscow is seeking to open up a direct line into Tehran for the import of sanctioned nuclear equipment and military hardware, shipments that would flatly violate the terms of the recently inked interim nuclear deal.

Refinery Fight

Domestic oil refineries stocking up on lobbyists to fight lifting of ban on exporting crude oil
AP

Some domestic oil refiners are fighting new measures that would be economically beneficial for the country as a whole but decrease their profitability, experts said.

Iran Sanctions Back on Senate’s Agenda

New veterans bill sees sanctions amendment
Iranian Supreme Leader's Office, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei / AP

A new measure to level harsh sanctions on Iran reappeared in the Senate on Tuesday when Republicans proposed an amendment to a new bill aimed at replacing retirement benefits for veterans.

Obama Admin Denies New Jersey Quick Access to Rock Salt

Administration refuses to grant waiver for 1920 law to speed transport of salt for icy roads
AP

The Obama Administration has not approved a waiver that would allow New Jersey quick access to tons of salt for ice-covered roads at a port in Maine despite the state being at dangerously low levels.