By Justin Sink - 01/13/14 04:36 PM EST
President Obama urged Congress on Monday to "give diplomacy a chance," imploring lawmakers to hold off on additional sanctions against Iran as negotiators seek to take advantage of a six-month interim deal.
"It's going to be difficult, it's going to be challenging, but ultimately this is how diplomacy should work," Obama said, adding that the negotiating window formalized over the weekend should give world powers "the time and space" they need to formalize a permanent deal with Tehran.
Under the deal with Iran, the U.S. is loosening economic sanctions in exchange for a freeze to aspects of its nuclear program. Weapons inspectors will also be granted greater access to Iranian facilities.
But a bipartisan group of senators, including more than a dozen Democrats, has said it wants to pass legislation that would ramp up penalties on Iran if it fails to strike a long-term deal.
Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerOvernight Tech: Tech pushes for debate spotlight | Disney may bid for Twitter | Dem seeks Yahoo probe Saudis hire lobbyists amid 9/11 fight Consumer bureau remains partisan target after Wells Fargo settlement MORE (D-N.Y.) and Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob MenendezRobert MenendezTaiwan and ICAO: this is the time Rubio warns of terror attack from Cuba flights Politicians shouldn’t be above the law, Trump and Clinton included MORE (D-N.J.) are among those backing a bill that would impose penalties on banks and companies that help Iran export more oil and blacklist certain Iranian industries if Tehran does not agree to a comprehensive nuclear agreement.
Over the weekend, Obama said in a statement he would veto that legislation and that the bill endangered negotiations with Iran.
And on Monday, press secretary Jay Carney said Congress should wait to evaluate Iran's seriousness, rather than potentially disrupt the process.
“We believe we have the opportunity to test whether or not this can be resolved between the international community and Iran peacefully, which is the preferred way it would be resolved,” Carney said.