Congress Passes Iran, Syria Sanctions Bill Over Ron Paul's Objections

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Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who recently fell short in a run for the presidency and is retiring from the Congress at the end of this year, is still making his views known, in this case on economic sanctions against Iran and Syria.

Paul speaks against sanctions bill

Paul took to the floor of the House on Aug. 1 and spoke against the sanctions bill, which he called the "Obsession with Iran Bill." He suggested that the imposition of economic sanctions is an act of war, implying that the sanctions would be a prelude to war. He also suggested that there is little evidence that Iran is actually in pursuit of a nuclear weapon. He also asserted that neither Iran or Syria threatens their neighbors. He said that irrespective of those two countries' violation of the civil liberties of their people, the United States is guilty of the same. He therefore urged a no vote on the sanctions bill.

The sanctions bill passes the House overwhelmingly

After Paul's speech against the sanctions bill, the House passed it by a 421-6 margin, according to the Wall Street Journal. Besides Paul, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, ordinarily considered on the opposite side of most issues from Paul, was among the six members who voted against the measure. The bill then passed the Senate and is expected to be signed into law by President Barack Obama.

The sanctions bill closes loopholes left open by previous legislation

According to Foreign Policy Magazine, the sanctions bill opposed by Paul closed a number of loopholes that had been left open by previous legislation that imposed sanctions on Iran. The bill, officially called the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act, slaps penalties against businesses that aid Iran's petroleum, petrochemical, insurance, shipping, and financial sectors. The Senate Banking Committee also notes that it provides sanctions against both Iranian and Syrian officials who have violated human rights by disrupting computer networks and using the same to track and monitor dissidents.

Paul long a defender of Iran

Paul has long been a defender of Iran and an opponent of sanctions against that country. According to CNS News, Paul suggested during the primary campaign that Iran would be justified in closing the Straits of Hormuz in response to economic sanctions. Paul instead suggested that in the event that Iran acquires nuclear weapons, which he finds unlikely, nuclear deterrence would work to restrain that country just as it did with the Soviet Union, according to an article in the American Thinker. The American Thinker piece suggested that nuclear deterrence would not work with Iran because of the culture of martyrdom in that country. Bluntly, the people governing Iran would not mind if that country would be destroyed in a nuclear exchange if it meant that its enemies were also destroyed.

Texas resident Mark Whittington writes about state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network .

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