New Sanctions Could Prompt Iran to Abandon Talks
US President Barack Obama says imposing new sanctions on Iran would prompt the country to walk away from nuclear talks with the major powers, “an outcome no one wants.”
Speaking to CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” on Sunday, Obama said, “For us to undermine diplomacy at this critical time for no good reason is a mistake and that what we need to do is to finish up this round of negotiations, put the pressure on Iran to say yes to what the international community is calling for.”
He added he is confident he can successfully lobby the US Congress to approve a deal once it is struck.
“I’ve said before that we will take no deal over a bad deal,” Obama said. “But if I can prove that the deal we’ve put in place assures us through indisputable verification mechanisms that Iran cannot achieve breakout capacity (the time it would take Iran to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb if it decided to do so), if I’ve got a bunch of scientists and nuclear experts saying this assures us that Iran is not on the brink of being a nuclear weapons power, then that’s a public debate we should have.”
The United States and some of its allies claim Iran may have been seeking to develop the capability to build nuclear weapons. Iran denies the allegation, saying its nuclear work is only for peaceful applications, such as power generation.
Military Option Ineffective
Obama also said, “A potential military option would be less effective in constraining Iran’s nuclear program and would have extraordinarily ramifications at a time when we’ve already got too many conflicts in the Middle East.”
The US Senate Banking Committee on Thursday passed a bill that would levy more sanctions on Iran if it fails to sign an agreement with the major powers on its nuclear program by the June 30 deadline for the talks on a long-term settlement to the 12-year dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program. But US lawmakers are holding off on a full Senate vote for at least two months to see whether diplomatic negotiations could yield a deal.
Obama had previously said any new sanctions bill could “disrupt” the process of talks between Iran and the major powers and that he would veto any sanctions legislation that the US Congress adopts while the talks are underway.