Senate rushes for new Iran sanctions amid veto threat

Senate rushes for new Iran sanctions amid veto threat
Sat Dec 21, 2013 08:05:55

The US Senate is rushing with a controversial move for imposing new sanctions on Iran, as soon as next month, following a veto threat by the White House.

Senate aides and lawmakers said on Friday that Majority Leader Harry Reid had filed Rule 14 for the sanctions bill, which allows him to bypass the normal process of bringing a bill for a Senate vote through committee.

On Thursday, a group of Democrat and Republican senators introduced new legislation to impose further sanctions against Iran if the country breaches the terms of a nuclear deal reached last month in Geneva.

Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Sen. Robert Menendez and Sen. Mark Kirk wrote the bill, which proposes boycotting Iranian oil exports within a year and the blacklisting of Iran's mining, engineering and construction industries.

The Senate bill also calls for "diplomatic, military and economic support" to Israel in case Tel Aviv decides to launch an attack against Iran’s nuclear energy program.

The move comes despite a Friday warning by US President Barack Obama, who said the US should not impose further sanctions against Iran "if we are serious" about seeking a final nuclear agreement.

Obama also called on Congress to give nuclear negotiations a chance to work.

The White House announced that President Obama would veto the new Iran sanctions bill introduced in the Senate on Thursday.

“Passing new sanctions legislation now will undermine our efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had warned that the Geneva agreement will be “dead” if Washington imposes additional sanctions.

“The entire deal is dead. We do not like to negotiate under duress. And if Congress adopts sanctions, it shows lack of seriousness and lack of a desire to achieve a resolution on the part of the United States,” Zarif said.


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