Just as another day of Geneva talks on Iran’s nuclear program brought no results, a bipartisan group of 14 US senators announced their plan to work hard and fast to introduce a new package of sanctions, adding more pressure on already tough negotiations.
“A nuclear weapons capable Iran presents a grave threat to the national security of the United States and its allies and we are committed to preventing Iran from acquiring this capability,” the group said in a statement.
Among the political heavyweights pushing for new economic sanctions against Iran are Democrats Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Charles Schumer as well as Republican Senators Bob Corker and John McCain, a member of the Foreign Relations and Senate Armed Services committees.
“We will work together to reconcile Democratic and Republican proposals over the coming weeks and to pass bipartisan Iran sanctions legislation as soon as possible,” the statement read.
In the meantime Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that he will go ahead with the bill on new sanctions next month if Geneva talks fails.
“I will support a bill that would broaden the scope of our current petroleum sanctions, place limitations on trade with strategic sectors of the Iranian economy that support its nuclear ambitions, as well as pursue those who divert goods to Iran,” Reid said.
Meanwhile, legislation proposed on Thursday by Senator Bob Corker is seeking to limit President Obama’s ability to offer sanctions relief to Iran. According to the bill Obama would have only 240 days to strike a deal and would be required to prove any relief supports American national security interests.
Even as pressure from the US is mounting on Iran, so far there has been no breakthrough on the second day of talks in Geneva.
The head of Iran’s delegation Abbas Araqchi said that “no progress” was made after a 4.5-hour-long meeting between Foreign Minister Mohammad Jarad Zarif and P5+1 chief negotiator Catherine Ashton. see more