White House officials say President Barack Obama would veto any legislation imposing additional economic sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, in response to a group of lawmakers devising such a measure in the Senate.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Thursday that the administration does not believe such legislation is necessary. He said any new sanctions could derail the current negotiations with Iran on a deal that requires Tehran to curb its nuclear program in exchange for relief from some existing economic sanctions.
The Senate legislation is backed by 26 Democrats and Republicans who say the plan, known as the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013, is necessary to maintain pressure on Iran. Senator John McCain said sanctions should be activated if the Iranians fail to reach an agreement with the negotiating team, which consists of delegates from the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, plus Germany.
Mr. Obama says lawmakers must let that group continue testing Iran's commitment to a diplomatic solution.
The Senate legislation 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. The legislation is not expected to come to a vote until sometime in January.