Iran General NewsSenate backs president's Iran policies

Senate backs president’s Iran policies

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AP: The Senate on Thursday endorsed President Bush’s diplomatic approach to the problem of Iran’s nuclear program after rejecting a proposal that would have increased sanctions against the Tehran government and those helping it.
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate on Thursday endorsed President Bush’s diplomatic approach to the problem of Iran’s nuclear program after rejecting a proposal that would have increased sanctions against the Tehran government and those helping it.

The Senate voted 99-0 to support the decision, announced by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on May 31, that the United States would join other Western states in engaging Iran in negotiations and offering a package of incentives if Tehran suspends its uranium enrichment activities.

That vote came minutes after a 54-45 vote to defeat a proposal by Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., that would have imposed mandatory sanctions on entities that help Iran acquire or develop weapons of mass destruction.

Both the Santorum measure, and the vote of support for the administration, introduced by Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., were amendments to a defense spending bill the Senate is debating.

Santorum’s proposal was in line with a bill passed by the House last April, over the objections of the administration, that also would impose sanctions on those contributing to Iran’s WMD programs and cut off aid to countries investing in Iran’s energy sector. It also authorized $100 million to promote pro-democracy efforts in Iran.

The administration said the House bill would limit the flexibility it needed to reach a diplomatic solution to the deadlock over Iran’s nuclear program.

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