Congressional Democrats blast White House over reported plans to freeze Congress out of Iran deal


Top Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday blasted the Obama administration for reportedly planning to circumvent Congress in securing a nuclear deal with Iran that would reduce sanctions on the Islamic republic, after controversy erupted in the wake of a New York Times column assessing that "President Obama will do everything in his power to avoid letting Congress vote on" a nuclear deal between the P5+1 global powers and Iran. Foreign Policy Magazine conveyed a statement from Eliot Engel (D-NY), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, bluntly stating that the lawmaker "disagree[d] with the administration's reported assertion that it does not need to come to Congress at this point during negotiations with Iran." The outlet also quoted Steve Israel (D-NY), the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, saying that "as negotiations continue on a deal to prevent a nuclear Iran, Congress cannot be circumvented." Analysts, lawmakers, and journalists had for months assumed that the administration would need the Hill's cooperation in implementing any deal with Iran, if only because previously passed sanctions legislation would require new legislation to roll back. Recent weeks had nonetheless seen doubts emerge over whether the administration would be able to secure Congressional approval of a likely deal. A range of stories indicated that Western negotiators had caved to Tehran on a range of core issues, including on a long-standing international demand that Tehran dismantle its uranium-enriching centrifuges. Bipartisan majorities in both chambers of Congress had declared that such dismantlement was a vital component of any acceptable deal. Meanwhile new reports emerged Tuesday indicating that the West's posture has eroded further. The Los Angeles Times conveyed Iranian media reports boasting that the American position regarding enrichment has again eroded, and that Washington has now "sweetened its offer to Iran in ongoing nuclear negotiations, saying it might accept Tehran operating 4,000 centrifuges, up from the previous 1,300."

Dr. Eli Harari, the Israeli founder and retired chairman & CEO of SanDisk Corporation has been selected as one of the 2014 honorees of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the United States’ highest honor recognizing achievement and leadership in advancing the fields of science and technology. President Barack Obama recently announced the nine recipients to win this year’s awards. “These scholars and innovators have expanded our understanding of the world, made invaluable contributions to their fields, and helped improve countless lives,” President Obama said in announcing the recipients. “Our nation has been enriched by their achievements and by all the scientists and technologists across America dedicated to discovery, inquiry, and invention.” SanDisk is a global leader in flash storage solutions. Dr. Harari’s vision for the company and flash memory began more than 26 years ago. Throughout the years flash memory innovations have transformed and enabled new markets and devices from digital photography to USB drives to smart phones, tablets, and thin-and-light notebooks. Flash memory is on track to become the most widely used memory technology in the world over the next decade, according to a SanDisk press release. “We’re now connected in ways that would not be possible without the technologies that Eli helped pioneer and we’re well positioned to take on new market segments such as enterprise data centers,” said Sanjay Mehrotra, co-founder, president and chief executive officer of SanDisk. “Eli has had a profound impact on the entire technology landscape, and in doing so, has truly changed the world as we experience it today. His lifelong intellectual and technical achievements are well-deserving of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.” From a startup in 1988, SanDisk now employs more than 8,000 people worldwide, has over 5,000 patents and $6.5 billion in annual sales. A White House press statement says the National Medal of Technology and Innovation “recognizes those who have made lasting contributions to America’s competitiveness and quality of life and helped strengthen the nation’s technological workforce.” The new awardees will receive their medals at a White House ceremony later this year. (via Israel21c)

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