Obama Vows to Veto Fresh Iran Sanctions

Obama Vows to Veto Fresh Iran SanctionsObama Vows to Veto Fresh Iran Sanctions

US President Barack Obama warned lawmakers on Friday not to trigger new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, vowing to veto any new sanctions legislation.

He also said such a move would upset diplomatic talks and increase the likelihood of a military conflict with Tehran.

In a joint news conference at the White House, Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron urged members of the US Congress to be patient and hold off on legislation calling for further sanctions.

“There is no good argument for us to try to undercut, undermine the negotiations until they’ve played themselves out,” Obama told reporters.

“Congress needs to show patience,” he added. “My main message to Congress is: ‘Just hold your fire.’”

Obama said he told Democratic lawmakers he would veto a bill calling for new sanctions if it landed on his desk.

The joint push with Cameron, who said he had personally called US senators about the issue, represented the strongest effort yet by the White House to prevent US lawmakers from both parties from seeking to force additional penalties on Tehran.

 50/50 Chance

The United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China are in talks with Iran to forge a deal over Tehran’s nuclear program. They failed to meet a self-imposed deadline for a solution in November. Obama put the chances of an eventual deal at 50/50.

The president warned that if the Congress forced further sanctions, Iran could abandon the talks and accuse Washington of blowing up the deal and acting in bad faith.

“There would be some sympathy to that view around the world, which means that the sanctions that we have in place now would potentially fray,” Obama said.

“Congress should be aware that if this diplomatic solution fails, then the risks and likelihood that this ends up being, at some point, a military confrontation is heightened. And Congress will have to own that as well.”

He clarified, however, that if a deal did not emerge, that did not mean Washington would shift toward a military posture.