Iran: ‘Deal is dead’ if sanctions are passed

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Iran is threatening to walk away from nuclear talks if Congress approves new sanctions against Tehran.

In an interview with Time, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that “the entire deal is dead” if Congress passes new sanctions, regardless of whether they would only be triggered by the failure of the talks.

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“We do not like to negotiate under duress,” Zarif said. “And if Congress adopts sanctions, it shows lack of seriousness and lack of a desire to achieve a resolution on the part of the United States.”

Lawmakers angry about the six-month deal struck with Iran have said they still want to pass a new round of sanctions. The sanctions would take effect in six months, or sooner if Iran reneges on the agreement.

The Obama administration is urging Congress to hold off on the sanctions as the P5+1 group — the United States, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia — tries to reach a final deal with Iran.

Zarif told Time that the domestic complications within the U.S. were “no justification” for new sanctions, even if they were opposed by the White House.

“My parliament can also adopt various legislation that can go into effect if negotiations fail,” Zarif said. “But if we start doing that, I don’t think that we will be getting anywhere.”

The interim agreement reached last month swapped as much as $8 billion in sanctions relief in exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear activities.

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