extension prompts calls for more sanctions in U.S. Congress
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[November 25, 2014]
By Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Several U.S.
Republican lawmakers insisted on Monday that the extension of nuclear
talks with Iran be accompanied by increased sanctions, setting the stage
for a battle with the Obama administration after their party takes full
control of Congress next year.
Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte, three of
the party's leading foreign policy voices, said they view Iran's
insistence on having any enrichment capability at all as problematic
and warned that a "bad deal" would lead to a nuclear arms race in
the Middle East.
"We believe this latest extension of talks should be coupled with
increased sanctions and a requirement that any final deal between
Iran and the United States be sent to Congress for approval," they
said in a statement.
Iran and six powers failed on Monday for a second time this year to
resolve the 12-year dispute over Tehran's nuclear ambitions, and
gave themselves seven more months to resolve the deadlock that has
prevented an historic deal.
John Boehner, the Republican Speaker of the House of
Representatives, said an extension only allows the administration to
make more concessions to Iran.
Some Republicans held off calling for immediate new sanctions, but
insisted Congress must be allowed to weigh in on any final nuclear
agreement with Iran.
Senator Bob Corker, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee, said Congress must be given say on a deal and
should begin preparing alternatives, including tougher sanctions, in
case negotiations fail.
"I would rather the administration continue to negotiate than agree
to a bad deal that would only create more instability in the region
and around the world," Corker said in a statement.
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President Barack Obama's fellow Democrats, who blocked a largely
Republican attempt to tighten sanctions a year ago, backed the
extension, saying Congress should not do anything that might imperil
"A collapse of the talks is counter to U.S. interests and would
further destabilize an already volatile region," said Democratic
Senator Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence
Obama has insisted that more sanctions imposed by Washington would
antagonize Iran, anger other countries now supporting international
sanctions and collapse the negotiations.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Monday further sanctions
on Iran could be counterproductive.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Doina Chiacu, Jim Loney
and Gunna Dickson)
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