The New Face of Sanctions

Stuart Levey, under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, and Obama’s lead on Iran sanctions, is leaving the Treasury Department. And the timing is a little rough. On Saturday, efforts to come to some sort of agreement with Iran about its nuclear program broke down without getting anywhere. That likely means more sanctions are in store. At least the White House already has a nominee in mind. Levey’s deputy, David Cohen, is the next in line for the under secretary position. Apparently, when Levey agreed to work for Obama, he planned on staying just six months. It’s been two years now. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that the change “will have no effect on policy, or on our ability to execute the President’s policy.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Mexico today for bilateral talks with the country’s foreign minister. Topics on the table include “joint cooperation to combat organized crime, strengthening the competitiveness of our two economies, modernizing the border between our two countries, and advancing the global climate change agenda,” according to State Department spokesman PJ Crowley.

House Democrats were in Maryland on Friday for a retreat, and they had a visit from Vice President Joe Biden. He gave an hour-long speech on a whole range of topics, from Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan to his relationships with individual politicians. He also thanked them for the “extremely difficult votes” they cast in support of some of President Obama’s policies. Biden is up in Delaware today reporting for jury duty. Yes, jury duty.