US congress fails to impose new sanctions on Iran

US congress fails to impose new sanctions on Iran
Wed Jan 29, 2014 09:19:49

An attempt to impose new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program has stalled in the US Congress and lawmakers are discussing whether to introduce a much weaker measure, congressional aides say.

Members of the Senate and House of Representatives are considering a non-binding resolution that expresses concern about Iran’s nuclear program and calls for negotiators to set strict conditions in talks between Tehran and world powers, the Globe and Mail reported on Monday.

That would fall short of tightening sanctions on Iran, as envisioned in a bill that senators have been discussing for months.

“We don’t think it is going to come to a vote,” said a Senate aide who requested anonymity. “There are discussions about a resolution.”

Iran has warned that it will walk away from talks on its nuclear program, if Congress passes a new sanctions bill.

Senate Democrats met recently and agreed not to push Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring the sanctions bill to the floor of the chamber, congressional aides said.

President Barack Obama’s administration strongly opposed the sanctions bill, and threatened to veto it. The bill was co-sponsored by 59 of the 100 senators, including 16 of Obama’s fellow Democrats.

Sources familiar with the Obama administration’s thinking said the White House would object to a non-binding resolution at this stage in the delicate talks with Iran.

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama warned lawmakers that any new economic sanctions that Congress tries to impose against Iran during international negotiations to limit the Islamic republic's nuclear program will be vetoed.

After reaching an interim deal last November, Iran and six world powers will likely hold the first round of talks on a long-term deal for Tehran next month at the United Nations in New York.

Tehran has repeatedly declared that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has discovered nothing to prove diversion in Iranian nuclear program towards making atomic weapons.


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