Senate Leaders Warn Obama to Stay Tough on Iran's Uranium Enrichment Program

President Asks Congress to Hold Off on More Sanctions

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By JTA

Published November 19, 2013.
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Analysts close to the administration have said the likely impact of sanctions relief on the $100-120 billion Iran suffers in sanctions each year is likely to be more in the region of $10 billion.

Separately, a number of senators – including three who were in the meeting with Obama – on Tuesday wrote U.S. Secretary John Kerry urging him to ensure that Iran abides by U.N. Security Council resolutions as part of any deal, and suspends all uranium enrichment.

“While the interim agreement may suggest that Iran could be willing temporarily to slow its pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability, it could also allow Iran to continue making some progress toward that end under the cover of negotiations,” said the letter. “This does not give us confidence that Iran is prepared to abandon unambiguously its nuclear weapons pursuit altogether, as it must.”

The letter also expressed reservations at reports that sanctions relief could amount to $10 billion.

“We regard this as a major concession on our part that would not be justified by the concessions the Iranian regime would be required to make in return,” the letter said.

The letter, which was backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, was signed by Sens. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), McCain, Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine).

In addition to McCain, Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Schumer, the third ranking Democrat in the Senate, had attended the White House meeting.


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