Kerry to Concerned Senators: ‘Calm Down’ over Iran Sanctions

Posted on: November 13th, 2013 by ABC News No Comments

Stae Dept Photo(WASHINGTON) — On Capitol Hill Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry urged people to “calm down” over imposing new sanctions on Iran, as negotiations are still ongoing.

“We have all the opportunity of negotiations to make certain this is a peaceful program that can threaten nobody and what we’re asking everybody to do is calm down, look hard at what can be achieved and what the realities are,” Kerry told reporters before a closed briefing with the Senate Banking Committee.

Kerry warned that imposing new sanctions on Iran at this time could threaten the stability of negotiations.

“We now are negotiating, and the risk is that if Congress were to unilaterally move to raise sanctions, it could break faith with those negotiations and actually stop them and break them apart,” Kerry said. “We have a pause because it’s a tough proposal and people need to think about it obviously. Now if all of a sudden sanctions were to be increased, there are members of that coalition who have put it in place who would think we are dealing in bad faith and they would bolt.”

“This is a first step, not a final agreement,” he added.

But Kerry did note that if negotiations fall through, he will return to Capitol Hill to ask for more sanctions on Iran.

“If this doesn’t work, we reserve the right to dial back up the sanctions. I will be up here on the Hill asking for increased sanctions, and we always reserve the military option,” he said. “Let’s give them a few weeks, see if it works, and we have all of our options at our disposal. “

Following the Senate Banking Committee briefing, Vice President Joe Biden joined Kerry to brief Senate Democratic leadership about the Iran talks.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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