April 18, 2014
White House tells Senate it opposes new Iran sanctions effort
The White House said today that it opposes a fresh effort by some members of the US Senate to impose new sanctions against Iran, even if the new restrictions would not take effect for months.
Some senators have been discussing the idea of imposing new sanctions on Iran that would kick in after six months or if Iran violated terms of an interim deal reached 10 days ago that attempts to contain its nuclear program.
"If we pass sanctions now, even with a deferred trigger which has been discussed, the Iranians, and likely our international partners, will see us as having negotiated in bad faith," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.
Administration officials have been pushing lawmakers not to move ahead with a sanctions package, saying doing so risked alienating Tehran and other countries engaged in the talks by making Washington seem to be acting in bad faith.
But many lawmakers are skeptical about the agreement reached in Geneva between negotiators for Iran and the so-called P5+1 - the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany - and insist Washington should increase the pressure on Tehran by adding to sanctions.
The White House says a six-month window without new sanctions would allow negotiators to work on a comprehensive agreement to resolve the decade-old dispute over Iran's nuclear program, which has stirred fears of a new Middle East war.
But lawmakers believe it was tough sanctions pushed by Congress - not the White House - that brought Tehran to the table and see no reason not to spell out tough consequences if Iran does not comply with the interim deal.
"That way we're not negotiating in what-ifs," a Senate aide said.