A senior Obama administration diplomat on Thursday pressed U.S. senators not to legislate new economic sanctions against Iran until after a multilateral meeting slated for later this month on the country’s nuclear program, The Hill newspaper reported.
“I would hope that you will allow us the time to begin these negotiations [with Iran] and see if, in fact, there is anything real here,” U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Iran would hear “quite directly that if there isn’t … everyone is ready to act,” added Sherman, Washington’s top envoy to talks between Iran and six negotiating powers.
The House of Representatives passed legislation in July that would expand economic constraints on non-U.S. companies doing business with Iran, and the Senate Banking Committee is preparing a similar Iran sanctions bill.
Sherman is concerned about the timing of Congress’ deliberations on such legislation because of a planned Oct. 15-16 meeting in Geneva over suspicions that Tehran’s atomic efforts are geared toward development of a nuclear-arms capability. Iran’s recently installed president has pledged to seek quick progress in the talks, which have dragged out for years in an on-and-off fashion.
Still, the House bill’s sponsor said the Senate should “pass sanctions legislation now.”
Doing so would “increase our negotiating leverage and deny Tehran the resources to continue its nuclear program,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said on Thursday in released comments.
Separately, Sherman said Washington’s implementation of existing Iran penalties has been “hampered significantly” since many government offices closed their doors on Tuesday, The Hill reported separately.
What We're Following See More »
President Trump today said he'll be releasing his tax reformpacakge next week around the 100-day mark of his presidency. He promised that "businesses and individuals will receive a 'massive tax cut ... bigger I believe than any tax cut ever."
Despite President Trump's announcement that his tax reform proposal would be released this week, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney now says it will be ready in June. This week's announcement will be limited to "specific governing principles."
Vice President Mike Pence has cut his Asia trip short "to race back to Washington, where the Trump administration faces a critical week on tax reform and a funding plan to keep the government running, an aide said on Sunday." Pence will return to Washington on Tuesday morning instead of Wednesday. Trump has a busy week ahead, as he plans to roll out a tax reform on framework, sign a number of executive orders, and works to keep the government open past Friday.