Slatest PM: Defying Obama, Senators Push For New Iran Sanctions

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 19 2013 4:40 PM

Slatest PM: Defying Obama, Senators Push For New Iran Sanctions

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) (L) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) leave after talking to reporters about the use of the 'nuclear option' at the U.S. Capitol November 21, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

File photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

Senate Eyes New Iran Sanctions: Reuters: "Despite opposition from the Obama administration, 26 U.S. senators introduced legislation on Thursday to impose new sanctions on Iran if the country breaks an interim deal under which Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program. It will be weeks at the earliest before the bill comes to a vote in the 100-member Senate, if it gets that far, given staunch opposition by President Barack Obama's administration and many of its supporters in Congress. Democrats Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Charles Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, and Republican Senator Mark Kirk, along with 23 others, introduced the bill intended to choke off funding to Iran's nuclear program by cutting off its oil sales. ... The 13 Democrats and 13 Republicans introduced the "Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act" despite the Obama administration's insistence that passing such a measure would disrupt delicate negotiations between Tehran and world powers over the Islamic republic's nuclear program."

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Despite Promise of White House Veto: Associated Press: "The White House says it would veto new congressional legislation that would toughen sanctions against Iran. ... White House spokesman Jay Carney says the sanctions would undermine American diplomatic efforts. ... The bill sets restrictions that would go into effect if Tehran violates an interim nuclear deal it reached with world powers last month or lets the agreement expire without a long-term accord. A Senate vote won't happen until January at the earliest, and it's unclear whether the bill will have enough support to pass."

It's Thursday, December 19th, welcome to the Slatest PM. Follow your afternoon host on Twitter at @JoshVoorhees, and the whole team at @Slatest.

Late-Breaking: BBC News: "Part of a roof in the Apollo Theatre in central London has collapsed during a performance. The theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue was packed for a performance of the Curious Incident Of The Dog in the Night-time. An eyewitness said she heard 'a crackling' noise before the collapse at about 20:15 GMT. London Ambulance said there were at least 30 casualties including walking wounded. London Fire Brigade said all those who were trapped had been freed. It said eight fire engines were attending, and police are also at the scene in London's West End theatre district. A spokesman added that the theatre was almost full with 'around 700 people' watching the performance."

Obama Commutes 8 Crack Sentences: New York Times: "President Obama, expanding his push to curtail severe penalties for drug offenses, on Thursday commuted the sentences of eight federal inmates who were convicted of crack cocaine offenses. Each inmate has been imprisoned for at least 15 years, and six were sentenced to life in prison. It was the first time retroactive relief was provided to a group of inmates who most likely would have received significantly shorter terms if they had been sentenced under current drug laws, sentencing rules and charging policies. Most of the eight will be released in 120 days."

About That Chicken: CBS News: "Consumer Reports magazine has released its most comprehensive study on meat and poultry and found potentially harmful bacteria in 97 percent of the chicken breasts they tested nationwide. Urvashi Rangan, the magazine's director of consumer safety and sustainability, told [CBS] ... that they went to 26 different states and shopped for 316 raw chicken breasts. 'We did find 97 percent of one of the six bacteria that we looked for that can all be potentially harmful,' she said. 'But, even more concerning, about half of those were resistant to three or more antibiotic classes, making them multiple drug resistant.' Rangan said that in terms of food-borne illness and disease 'chicken is a big culprit' and 'people should be really careful when they’re out there buying their chicken.'"

Convictions in Grisly British Beheading: Reuters: "Two British Muslim converts were found guilty of murder on Thursday for hacking a soldier to death in broad daylight on a London street in a gruesome killing that horrified the nation. The murder, its impact magnified by video footage showing the culprits with blood-soaked hands explaining their actions, provoked a rise in hate crimes against Muslims in Britain, anti-Islamist street protests and government promises of tougher action on radical Islamist preachers. ...  A jury at London's Old Bailey criminal court took about 90 minutes to unanimously find Michael Adebolajo, 29, and Michael Adebowale, 22, guilty of murdering Rigby, 25, an Afghan war veteran, near an army barracks in Woolwich on May 22. The court heard they had driven around the area looking for a soldier and ran over Rigby, who was carrying a military backpack, then attacked his unconscious body with knives and a meat cleaver, trying to behead him."

Pastor Defrocked Over Gay Wedding: Washington Post: "A United Methodist pastor who criticized his denomination’s doctrine as contradictory and prejudiced against gays and lesbians was stripped Thursday of his credentials for officiating the wedding of his son to another man. A church jury last month found Frank Schaefer, who had been pastor of a small country church in Lebanon, Pa., guilty of violating United Methodist law by doing the 2007 wedding and also of disobedience. He was given 30 days to decide if he could fully comply with the denomination’s Book of Discipline, or doctrine book. Schaefer said at the time of the trial and again before a clergy oversight board Thursday that he could not uphold a book he sees as sending mixed messages on acceptance of gays and lesbians. Schaefer, who has three gay children, said he wants to become a public advocate for gay equality in the church. ... Schaefer has said he will appeal the jury’s decision."

McBride Update: NBC News: "A suburban Detroit man who fatally shot a teen on his porch in the middle of the night last month will stand trial for murder. Prosecutors presented sufficient evidence for Theodore Wafer, 54, to stand trial on charges that he killed Renisha McBride, 19, in the early morning hours of Nov. 2, Wayne County District Court Judge David Turfe said. The racially charged case in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, triggered protests that attracted national attention and drew comparisons to the 2012 shooting death of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. Turfe said Wafer had other choices available to him when he went to his front door that night, but chose otherwise."

That's all for today. See you back here tomorrow. Until then, tell your friends to subscribe or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.