U.S. Senators Push for Tough Line in Iran Nuclear Talks

Lindsey Graham, Robert Menendez

(Reuters) – Two influential U.S. senators have asked fellow lawmakers to support demands that Iran accept tough conditions in nuclear talks, including at least two decades of inspections, before Congress would agree to ease sanctions.

Congress, AIPAC Seeking to Resurrect Iran Sanctions Bill

Source: Stalled sanctions bill may make a comeback with AIPAC support
Hassan Rouhani

The nation’s leading pro-Israel lobbying group is considering backing new efforts in Congress to pass tighter sanctions on Iran, according to Senate insiders familiar with the issue.

Dems Kill Key Pro-Israel bill to Appease White House on Iran

Pull pro-Israel bill over Iran oversight language
AP

The fallout from a rushed, late night decision by a leading Democrat to scuttle key pro-Israel legislation in a bid to appease the Obama administration threatens to complicate efforts by Democrats to hold on to the Senate, according to sources on Capitol Hill and in the pro-Israel community.

Menendez Threatens to Scuttle Key Pro-Israel Bill

Senator threatens to pull AIPAC-backed bill over Iran oversight measure
AP

Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) is threatening to scuttle a newly authored Senate measure that would give lawmakers a final say on any deal the Obama administration strikes with Iran over its contested nuclear program, according to Senate insiders tracking the debate.

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.