Republican says Obama’s Iran policy has failed

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Rep. John Tierney (Mass.), the subcommittees ranking Democrat, defended the White House.

The administration has made an extraordinary effort to put together an international consensus on the stricter sanctions, Tierney said.

He added that the most recent batch of U.N. economic sanctions on Iran appear to have slowed the countrys nuclear weapons work.

Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Henry Wooster told the subcommittee in written testimony that sanctions are having an effect. He cited comments by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the U.N. sanctions have proved the heaviest economic onslaught on a nation in history.

Tierney also cautioned his fellow lawmakers against passing legislation that would require the United States to slap unilateral economic sanctions on Iran in an effort to change the regimes behavior.

Some lawmakers have pushed the notion of unilateral sanctions — or even using U.S. military force to halt Iran’s nuclear program.

The president needs to retain his offices traditional leverage and flexibility to tailor and use sanctions within the international community, Tierney said.

The ranking member called for other nations to join with Washington in imposing narrowly defined” economic sanctions that target Iranian leaders.

Analysts from several think tanks told the subcommittee that tougher Iran sanctions could have an effect, but are unlikely to deter Tehran from building nuclear arms.