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White House: Obama Would Veto Any New Iran Sanctions

The White House says President Barack Obama

would veto any new legislation imposing

additional sanctions on Iran over its nuclear

program.

Legislation introduced in the Senate,

supported as of Thursday by 26 Democratic

and Republican senators, directly defies

appeals from President Obama.

Called the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of

2013, the measure would expand restrictions

on Iran's energy sector. It also states that the

United States should provide military,

diplomatic and economic support to Israel if

the Jewish state takes military action against

Iranian facilities.

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President Obama says U.S. lawmakers must

allow the United States and other permanent

members of the United Nations Security

Council, plus Germany, to continue testing

Iran's commitment to a diplomatic solution.

Iran and the P5+1 nations resumed expert-

level talks in Geneva Thursday on the deal that

requires Tehran to curb its nuclear program

in return for some limited relief from

economic sanctions.

The Senate legislation is not likely to come to

a vote until some time in January. And

lawmakers will no doubt come under even

more pressure from the administration to

drop the effort.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said

President Obama would veto any bill

containing new sanctions, which the interim

nuclear agreement with Iran has said would

not be imposed.

"We don't believe this proposal is necessary,

as I think we have made clear, and we have

been discussing with members of Congress for

quite some time. We don't believe it will be

enacted; we certainly know it's not necessary.

If it were to pass, the president would veto

it," Carney said.

The U.S. Treasury Department announced new

enforcement actions against additional Iranian

companies and individuals based on existing

sanctions, a step that led Iran to temporarily

interrupt discussions.

Carney said the White House has been in

"regular and very direct" conversations with

lawmakers, and reiterated that Congress could

act quickly if Iran fails to comply. New

sanctions, he said, could derail negotiations

and suggest "bad faith" on the part of the

United States.

Two Republicans who have signed on to the

legislation — John McCain and Lindsey Graham

— spoke in the Senate Thursday about the

need to maintain pressure on Iran.

McCain said it would be appropriate for

Congress to make clear to the Obama

administration and to Iran's leadership that

the "screws are going to tighten."

"Shouldn't there be some sanctions that would

kick in after a six-month period which then

the Iranians would know that if they don't

reach an agreement then the sanctions would

be more severe?" McCain asked.

White House spokesman Carney also

responded to a question about remarks by

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

regarding efforts to reach a comprehensive

nuclear deal with Iran, and the U.S. missile

shield in Europe.

Speaking in Poland, where interceptors for the

missile shield are to be deployed by 2018,

Lavrov said successful implementation of the

Geneva agreement would remove the cause

for the U.S. missile shield.

Carney said the U.S. position has not

changed, noting that an interim deal with Iran

is "not a comprehensive agreement and not a

resolution to the international community's

concerns about Iran's nuclear program."

[VOA NEWS]
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