Hawks in US Congress threaten Iran with sanctions

Tue 25 November 2014 05:22 GMT | 09:22 Local Time

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US Congress hawks have reacted threateningly to the extension of negotiations over Iran's nuclear program.

Now more than ever, it's critical that Congress enacts sanctions” against Iran, said Republican Senator Mark Kirk in a statement, adding, "Congress will not give Iran more time to build a nuclear bomb", Press TV reports.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez supported Kirk, suggesting that legislative action was vital for a breakthrough.

Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Kelly Ayotte also called for the imposition of additional sanctions against Iran during the course of negotiations, and demanded that any final deal between Iran and the US be sent to Congress for approval.

Moreover, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce said that President Barak Obama should impose new sanctions on Iran.

"This seven-month extension should be used to tighten the economic vice on Tehran," Royce said.

Congressman Brad Sherman also said that new sanctions are the "best hope for a good agreement."

In addition, Senator Bob Corker supported a new sanctions regime against Tehran, saying, "Congress must have the opportunity to weigh in before implementation of any final agreement and begin preparing alternatives, including tougher sanctions, should negotiations fail."
 
US State Department spokesman Jeffrey Rathke also backed sanctions against Iran. He, however, said, that “Sanctions are not alone going to get us the comprehensive deal."

The Congress hawks made the remarks after Iran and the six countries agreed to extend the nuclear talks for seven months.

On the other hand, Senator Tim Johnson, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, through which sanctions legislation often passes before getting a full vote, stated that imposing new sanctions "now would be grossly counterproductive."

In their last round of talks before a November 24 deadline for reaching a comprehensive nuclear deal, Iran and the P5+1 countries -- the United States, Russia, China, Germany, France and Britain -- held nearly a week of intense negotiations in Vienna on how to tackle the remaining obstacles that exist in the way of reaching an agreement.

At the end of the talks, the two sides agreed to extend the Joint Plan of Action until July 1, 2015.

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