White House: Congressional sanctions will have exemptions

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WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Obama administration expects congressional Iran sanctions to provide for exemptions to countries cooperating with the weaker U.N. sanctions.

"There will be provisions for cooperating countries," a senior White House official involved in framing the sanctions expected to pass this month told JTA. "There will be appropriate exemptions."

U.N. Security Council sanctions passed Wednesday go further than earlier such resolutions, adding a cargo inspection regime mandating checks on ships inbound for Iran and broadening sanctions against the Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps.

The U.N. resolution also notes in its preamble the utility of targeting Iran’s energy and banking sectors. This is seen by the Obama administration as providing individual nations with a basis to add their own, tougher sanctions.

The U.S. Congress is set later this month to pass such sanctions, targeting third-party entities that deal with Iran’s energy and banking sectors.

Congressional drafters of the legislation had denied that the final package will include carve-outs for some countries, despite reports that Obama had sought the exemptions as a means of enticing Russia and China, which do business with Iran, into lending critical support to the U.N. sanctions. Spokesmen for the congressional drafters did not return calls Wednesday.

The senior White House official predicted that the U.N. sanctions would have a "chilling" effect on Iranian trade.

"They send an immediate message and a further chilling effect on anyone that would do business with Iran," the official said.

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