President’s Obama’s Iran agreement, with negotiations coordinated by Russia, China, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, is a controversial one since it would allow Iran to maintain its nuclear technology, continue with its human rights abuses, sponsor terrorism, imprison American hostages, and remain a threat to American allies. But the US states have the power to limit such threats. Pursued as an executive agreement and not as a treaty, the deal avoided the Congress. With this, states can come to their own decisions regarding Iran. About 25 states have enacted Iran sanctions through the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010. But the federal leadership promised to dissuade the states to drop their sanctions. Critics believe that the states should even strengthen their Iran sanctions. The states have all the moral, reputational and prudential reasons to not agree with the investments of public assets to companies connected to Iran and terrorism. And there are more. First, Iran has a bad human rights record, oppressing women and persecuting people of most faiths. Second, Iran is a staunch supporter of terrorism, bankrolling terrorists, providing weapons and sheltering them. Third, Iran still holds American hostages. And finally, the regime that still controls the country continues the âdeath to Americaâ and Israeli destruction rhetoric. There are also risks involved in investing in states (especially with pension funds) that sponsor terrorism. Such investment is already stacked against any state policy of investing public funds. The risks involved in investing in a country like Iran should carry the obvious signal that such endeavor is not prudent. With all these reasons, all states should strictly and aggressively enforce their existing sanctions with Iran. It may be considered “interference” for Obama, but it is the right thing to do.
This current event is an example of federalism since it pits both the federal and state governments into making an important decision that will entirely affect not just global security but also domestic security. The fact that the federal government opted to use executive action to enforce the deal and not go through the rigors of the Constitutional process shows the underlying dominance of the national government. However, with the states having the power to sanction Iran through a 2010 Act, that federal power is being challenged.
The federal government, I believe, has the bigger responsibility because the deal, as presented by critics, has so many consequences. Iran being a hotbed for issues both with terrorism and human rights abuses is not worthy of an investment using public funds. I understand the position of the states here being empowered too to sanction Iran and safeguard public investment principles.
Right now, the Iran issue is being debated on both sides but I think the direction is going in the favor of the federal government. Although it may be serious on the part of risking not just domestic and global security but also public money, I do not believe the federal government is not aware of such consequences. However, with half of the states having enacted Iran sanctions, the issue will take long to be resolved, potentially until the next administration. It is election season. Both parties are busy bickering.
Although there is no difference between how power is balanced as per Tenth Amendment, i.e. states also empowered to sanction Iran as a response to the executive action, the way the federal government used its Constitutional powers to forego Constitutional processes, i.e. avoid Congress for approval, is particularly political. The federal government expects Republicans to not approve of the deal if it was created as a treaty, so to ensure a swifter enactment, an executive action was used.
Work Cited (Article Source)
Inhofe, James and Scott Pruitt. “Let States Do the Job Obama Wonât: Sanction Iran”. The
Wall Street Journal Online, 30 Aug 2015. Web, 14 Sept 2015.
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