Top of the Morning: How Iran is Complicating Obama’s Re-election Strategy

Top stories from the Development and Aid World News Service–DAWNS Digest.

How Iran is a Thorn in President Obama’s Re-Election Strategy

The New York Times examines the political pickle that president Obama faces in 2012 as he tries build diplomatic support for sanctions against Iran while fending off attacks from his Republican challenger, whoever that may be. “Sanctions against Iran’s oil exports that the president signed into law on New Year’s Eve started a fateful clock ticking. In late June, when the campaign is in full swing, Mr. Obama will have to decide whether to take action against countries, including some staunch allies, if they continue to buy Iranian oil through its central bank. After fierce lobbying by the White House, which opposed this hardening in the sanctions that have been its main tool in pressuring Tehran, Congress agreed to modify the legislation to give Mr. Obama leeway to delay action if he concludes the clampdown would disrupt the oil market. He may also invoke a waiver to exempt any country from sanctions based on national security considerations. But using either of those escape hatches could open the president to charges that he is weak on Iran, which is viewed by Western powers as determined to build a nuclear weapon. Republican candidates, led by Mitt Romney, have threatened to use military action to prevent Tehran from building a bomb, and have criticized Mr. Obama for not doing enough to stop it from joining the nuclear club.” (NYT