President Barack Obama urged Congress Friday not to enact new sanctions on Iran in the near future and he suggested lawmakers advancing such measures are making political hay of the issue.
“I’ve said to members of Congress: Democrats and Republicans…there is no need for new sanctions legislation-not yet,” Obama declared during a year-end press conference at the White House.
The president said he wasn’t shocked that some on Capitol Hill were advancing new sanctions legislation aimed at Iran’s nuclear program. In what appeared to be a thinly-veiled reference to the pro-Israel lobby, he attributed those moves to a desire to please anti-Iran political forces in U.S.
“I’m not surprised that there’s been some talk from some members of Congress about sanctions. I think the politics of trying to look tough on Iran are often good when you’re running for office-or if you’re in office,” Obama said.
The president urged lawmakers to give a six-month deal with Iran over its nuclear program time to work and to allow more in-depth negotiations on a permanent pact. If Iran suddenly tries to accelerate its nuclear capabilities, “it’s not going to be hard for us to turn the dials back or strengthen sanctions even further,” Obama said. “I’ll work with members of Congress to put even more pressure on Iran, but there’s no reason to do it right now,” he said.
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