While U.S. Vice President Joe Biden used his Oct. 11 debate with Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) to tout the current administration’s Iran sanctions as “the most crippling sanctions in the history of sanctions,” Ryan noted the administration’s efforts to weaken those sanctions before they were passed.
“The Administration has been blocking sanctions for years,” said Ryan, presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s running mate. “When [President] Barack Obama was elected, [Iran] had enough fissile material—nuclear material to make one bomb. Now they have enough for five. They’re racing toward a nuclear weapon. They’re four years closer toward a nuclear weapons capability.”
President Obama waited until New Year’s weekend to sign sanctions that were passed by the U.S. Senate 100-0 on Dec. 2, 2011, and at the time said he would treat them as “non-binding” if they interfere with his constitutional authority.
Biden posed the following in response to Ryan: “Imagine had we let the Republican Congress work out the sanctions. You think there’s any possibility the entire world would have joined us, Russia and China, all of our allies?”
Intelligence and military officials in the U.S. and Israel “are absolutely in the same exact place in terms of how close the Iranians are to getting a nuclear weapon,” Biden said, noting that the Iranians “are a good ways away.”
Ryan, however, said the Iranians “see this administration trying to water down sanctions in Congress for over two years, see the U.S. wanting more space with our ally Israel.”
“They see President Obama in New York City the same day Bibi Netanyahu is and he, instead of meeting with him, goes on a daily talk show… When they see us putting daylight between ourselves and our allies in Israel, that gives them encouragement,” Ryan said.