Clinton Waives Iran, Cuba Business Sanctions

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LONDON: Lofty notions of an unfettered global economy aside, President Clinton is probably having a good chuckle over the Transatlatic Economic Partnership he agreed to with British PM Tony Blair and EU president Jacques Santer. Clinton not only thumbed his nose at two of his least favorite people -- Jesse Helms and Dan Burton -- but he made a bold statement about where he thinks Congress's place is in U.S. foreign trade policy: out of it.

The accord effectively declaws both Helms-Burton, which imposes economic sanctions on foreign firms that do business in Cuba, and the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, directed against companies investing in energy projects in Iran or Libya. And though Clinton claimed that he had reached a compromise that would satisfy Congress, the idea of granting waivers to the very countries the two acts were trying to punish is not likely to sit well with isolationists on the Hill.

By burying fast track and heaping criticism on NAFTA, Congress practically dared Clinton to start acting abroad without them. But he's sure going to catch some hell when he gets back home.