WASHINGTON, D.C.: The United States (US) administration stepped up its battle on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) to thwart moves by lawmakers to tighten sanctions on Iran, warning that would jeopardize tough negotiations on Tehran’s nuclear program.
Secretary of State John Kerry videotaped a message to members of Congress warning against any new sanctions during the six-month period of talks laid down in a deal struck at the weekend in Geneva.
Seeking to tell lawmakers what the deal “does and does not do,” the top US diplomat tried to dispel what he called the “misinformation” surrounding the agreement.
“It does not lift the current architecture of our sanctions. Our sanctions are basically banking and oil sanctions and those sanctions will stay in place,” Kerry says in the video.
And he stresses: “We all know that if the agreement falls apart, Iran is going to quickly face even tougher sanctions.”
Work will begin immediately on hammering out the final agreement, which will have to satisfy the concerns of several powers including Israel, and Gulf allies like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which are wary about the US rapprochement with Iran.
“The whole world has an interest in making sure that this is a peaceful program,” Kerry says in the video.
Kerry, and the US administration of President Barack Obama, are seeking to head off moves in Congress to draw up new sanctions against Iran.