White House presses Congress not to intensify sanctions

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Obama administration reportedly is asking Congress to delay passing new Iran sanctions.

The National Security Council on Thursday hosted top staffers from congressional committees dealing with Iran sanctions at a White House briefing.

According to BuzzFeed, the thrust of the meeting was to have Congress delay passing intensified Iran sanctions.

The Obama administration launched renewed talks this month with Iran in the wake of pledges from its newly elected president, Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate, to cooperate with major powers in making Iran’s nuclear program more transparent.

Obama administration officials have said sanctions will remain in place until Iran tangibly shows it is abiding by U.N. Security Council resolutions and suspending uranium enrichment, but some congressional leaders as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu want to intensify existing sanctions as a means of increasing leverage over Iran.

U.S. negotiators have said that such a move would be counterproductive.

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