Administration Pressing Congress to ‘Pause’ New Iran Sanctions


Posted on: October 30th, 2013 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Undersecretary Wendy Sherman met with Jewish leaders at the White House Tuesday to explain the administration’s position on asking Congress not to pass any more sanctions against Iran ahead of next week’s negotiations in Geneva, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed Wednesday at a briefing.

Psaki  also confirmed that Thursday afternoon Sec. John Kerry and Treasury Sec. Jack Lew will meet with Congress in closed sessions to deliver the same message.

“On sanctions and — specifically, as we have said in the past, we believe that congressional action needs to be aligned with our negotiating strategy. So as we did in advance of the first Geneva conversations, we asked for a pause to provide flexibility of new sanctions,” said Psaki. But she said that this does not indicate that the administration is shying away from its current dual track diplomacy policy.

“We have not rolled back any existing sanctions, and we’re not doing anything to impact our core sanctions,” said Psaki.  “We haven’t made any decisions about changing sanctions, but this is about putting new sanctions in place to provide flexibility for the negotiations to proceed.”

Psaki defended the push for the pause in new sanctions, and said it doesn’t undermine the argument the administration has made in the past that America’s tough sanctions are what drove Iran to the table for negotiations. Those restrictive sanctions will remain in place for the time being.

“None of them have been weakened or changed in any capacity,” she said. “The fact that they’re still in place and ongoing means that they will continue to have an impact on the Iranian economy. And that’s one of the reasons why we’re here, because Rouhani ran on a platform of helping reform, helping boost, helping grow the economy. And this is obviously a significant hindrance to that.”

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