US senators mull new Iran sanctions despite deal

US senators mull new Iran sanctions despite deal
Sat Dec 7, 2013 14:03:39

US lawmakers are again pondering over passing yet another anti-Iran sanctions bill in the Senate despite a recent deal in Geneva between Iran and the P5+1 group of the world’s major nuclear powers.

The leaders of three US Senate committees have asked American intelligence officials in a letter to regularly brief them on whether a new round of sanctions against Iran would derail the talks over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program.

The letter, which was sent to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, reportedly asked for a report on the issue by December 12.

In the official letter on Friday, the Senate Banking Committee, the Intelligence Committee, and the Armed Services Committee, also call for briefings from the US intelligence community every 45 days, starting on January 30.

Meanwhile, as the administration of US President Barack Obama has been urging Congress to hold off on passing new anti-Iran sanctions, White House officials are to appear on Capitol Hill next week for public testimonies.

Secretary of State John Kerry will receive a public grilling on Tuesday afternoon before the House Foreign Relations Committee while Treasury Department official David Cohen and State Department official Wendy Sherman, who led the US delegation in nuclear talks with Iran in Geneva, are to publicly testify before the Senate Banking Committee.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has already passed an anti-Iran sanctions bill by a 400-20 vote and the Senate version of the bill should originate in the Banking Committee before being considered on the full Senate floor.

As part of the interim deal between Iran and the P5+1nations – Britain, China, France, Russia, the US plus Germany - Iran agreed to limit some aspects of its nuclear energy program and the US and its allies made a commitment to refrain from imposing new sanctions for six months.

Nevertheless, the White House says it will continue to “aggressively enforce” sanctions against the Islamic Republic over the next six months.

Meanwhile, major US-based weekly magazine, Time, reported last week that the US and the Israeli regime are planning to conduct a joint military drill in an effort to threaten Iran towards the end of the six-month period when the interim nuclear deal expires.

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