President Barack Obama has threatened to veto a new bipartisan Iran sanctions bill introduced in the Senate on Thursday.
The bill-sponsored by a group of 26 senators, 13 Democrats and 13 Republicans-says that Congress must certify Iran’s compliance to the interim nuclear deal every 30 days, and includes “prospective sanctions” that expand economic and financial restrictions on Iran’s energy and banking sections if Iran violates the deal. It also includes language requiring strong American action if Israel launches a pre-emptive strike on the Iran nuclear program.
Major Jewish groups support the bill.
“The bill presents the [Iranian] regime with a clear choice: give up your nuclear weapons pursuit or face sanctions that will totally cripple your economy,” said Michael Kassen, president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
“Until there are tangible, verifiable deeds by Iran to permanently end its quest for nuclear-weapons capability, Congress is doing the right thing, sending a strong message to Iran that it will pay a heavy price if a permanent agreement on its nuclear program is not achieved,” said American Jewish Committee Executive Director David Harris.
At a press conference, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the bill could undermine diplomatic efforts underway with Iran and hinted that Obama would veto the bill if it landed on his desk.
“Passing new sanctions legislation now will undermine our efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution,” Carney said.
Senate leaders believe the bill is necessary to force Iran to stick to the interim deal.