News / USA

    Obama Urges Senators to Delay New Iran Sanctions

    President Barack Obama, Nov. 19, 2013.
    President Barack Obama, Nov. 19, 2013.
    U.S. President Barack Obama has asked lawmakers to delay any new sanctions against Iran while international negotiations aimed at curbing the country's nuclear program continue.  

    President Obama hosted top senators at the White House Tuesday for talks that officials say were "solely focused on Iran."  The president, along with Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice, urged lawmakers not to upset progress as Western diplomats in Geneva, Switzerland, try to get Iran to agree to a deal that would stop advancements of its nuclear program for the first time in nearly a decade.

    White House spokesman Jay Carney says that with a new round of negotiations beginning in Geneva, "it would be appropriate for the Senate to pause before continuing new sanctions to see if these negotiations can move forward and make progress."

    The White House says the Geneva deal would modestly ease sanctions.  In exchange, Iran's leaders would make efforts to show they are not pursuing nuclear weapons.

    "The president noted that the relief we are considering as part of a first step would be limited, temporary and reversible, and emphasized we will continue to enforce sanctions during the six-month period," said Carney.

    International sanctions have crippled Iran's economy.

    Senator Bob Corker, ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, speaks to members of the media outside the West Wing of the White House, Nov. 19, 2013, following a meeting with President Barack Obama.Senator Bob Corker, ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, speaks to members of the media outside the West Wing of the White House, Nov. 19, 2013, following a meeting with President Barack Obama.
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    Senator Bob Corker, ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, speaks to members of the media outside the West Wing of the White House, Nov. 19, 2013, following a meeting with President Barack Obama.
    Senator Bob Corker, ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, speaks to members of the media outside the West Wing of the White House, Nov. 19, 2013, following a meeting with President Barack Obama.
    Republican Senator Bob Corker says he and some others at the meeting are concerned the move could forfeit some of Washington's influence over Tehran.

    "We know who we're dealing with, and you know, we've watched this same type of activity occur in North Korea where you begin to alleviate sanctions.  And I think what the concern is that whatever you do on the interim basis becomes the new norm," said Corker.

    Shortly after the meeting, a bipartisan group of senators sent a letter to the president, urging the administration to reject the proposed deal.  Arizona Republican John McCain and New York Democrat Chuck Schumer were among the six signers.

    The United States, Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany - more commonly known as the P5+1 - want Iran to curb its enrichment activity to prevent the nation from developing nuclear weapons.  Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.   

    Senator Corker says the Senate will not vote on any amendments concerning Iran sanctions until after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday next Thursday.

    Nuclear talks start Wednesday in Geneva.

    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Korea, Japan and Egypt.

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    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    November 20, 2013 11:06 AM
    Obama's actions become palliative to Iran's nuclear program pursuit and emboldens it to dare the world. Now Iran says it uranium enrichment and plutonium production are its rights, even drawing a red line, what is Obama still saying? Nothing in the world is as important to Obama as the destruction of Israel, which is why he is pampering Iran so that it arrives at the nuclear power stage before 2016. Israel should not let this lie low. The issue of peace with the Palestinians should be suspended forthwith, to be reopened when the troubles with Iran are over. Maybe, the war that is coming soon will determine where the borderline will be drawn.

    by: NJOKU O.U.J. from: NSUKKA, NIGERIA
    November 20, 2013 2:24 AM
    This is a game Tehran feels it can win. Of course it has managed to maintain its counter opinion in world affairs for three decades now. The talks will only work if Tehran is guaranteed its right to enrich uranium. This is the way they think!

    by: Allen from: NC
    November 19, 2013 10:46 PM
    Maybe because he has friends and/or relatives in high Iranian places as well as other mid-east countries.

    by: alubo, atati from: nigeria
    November 19, 2013 9:06 PM
    Old tricks die hard. What is playing out is arhetypal of the clinton administrations handling of the nuclear imbroglio in North korea. President Obama is simply naïve.I prognosticate that Iran will reverse whatever deal it is making with the P5 + 1 as the enrichment of it's uranium will continue once sanctions are eased

    by: Sam from: Canada
    November 19, 2013 1:35 PM
    Iran demands a fair deal:


    by: Sunny Enwerem from: Nigeria
    November 19, 2013 1:03 PM
    Personally I will call for tighter sanction on Iran to change the course of the ongoing transformation because I believe Iran's present involvement in Iraq,Lebanon,Syria etc does not put them in a better light to be part of the international community,a nuclear power Iran will cause more problem than solve.

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