Reid pushes sanctions vote to December

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday that he is committed to voting to strengthen Iran sanctions when the Senate returns from its Thanksgiving break.

“The Senate must be prepared to move forward with a new bipartisan Iran sanctions bill when the Senate returns after Thanksgiving recess. And I am committed to do so,” Reid said. “I believe we must do everything possible to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons capability.”

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The administration has asked Congress to wait to take action until after negotiations with Iran this week. Reid's decision pushes the sanctions vote into December, as the chamber is set to begin a two-week recess for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Reid said he supports the administration's diplomatic efforts, but he believes the Senate should stand ready to pass legislation strengthening sanctions against Iran and those who do business with the country.

“We all strongly support those negotiations, hope they will succeed, and want them to produce the strongest possible agreement,” Reid said. “However, we are also are aware of the possibility that the Iranians could keep the negotiations from succeeding. I hope that will not happen.”

The administration is negotiating in Geneva with Iranian leaders to prevent the country from building a nuclear weapon.

"I will support a bill that would broaden the scope of our current petroleum sanctions, place limitations on trade with strategic sectors of the Iranian economy that support its nuclear ambitions, as well as pursue those who divert goods to Iran," Reid said.

"While I support the admiration’s diplomatic effort, I believe we need to leave our legislative options open to act on a new, bipartisan sanctions bill in December, shortly after we return."