Sens. Paul, Boxer working on 'moderate' Iran sanctions bill

Sens. Rand PaulRand PaulClinton enjoying edge over Trump in Silicon Valley Trump gets little backing from Silicon Valley Lawmakers amplify criticism of US support for Saudi bombing campaign MORE (R-Ky.) and Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerFeds weigh whether carbon pollution should be measured in highway performance Juan Williams: Dems should not take Latinos for granted Reid faces Sanders supporters' fury at DNC MORE (D-Calif.) are working on an alternative Iran sanctions bill they say provides a more "moderate" approach.

“We’re all here with the same goal: to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” Boxer said during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the nuclear talks between Western powers and Iran.

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Boxer said the bill she is drafting with Paul, a potential 2016 presidential contender, would allow Congress to easily restore sanctions that have been relaxed during the current talks if the Obama administration finds Iran has violated any final nuclear accord.

She said they are "putting the final touches on this bill. We think it’s a moderate proposal." 

“We’re very excited," Boxer added.

Their effort comes as the Senate Banking Committee next week will mark up another bill from Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) that would ramp up sanctions against Tehran if an agreement is not reached by the June 30 deadline for talks.

President Obama has threatened to veto that legislation. The White House says new sanctions would only jeopardize negotiations and unravel the international consensus on preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Paul said he did not want to impose new sanctions while negotiations are ongoing because they could “break” the international coalition.

“I don’t want war, frankly,” said Paul.

"I have a concern that reaches across party lines that some colleagues are pushing to enact new sanctions while our negotiators are still at the table,” Boxer added.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the new chairman of the Foreign Relations panel, has also written legislation that would let Congress weigh in on any final nuclear deal with Iran with an up-or-down vote.

Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the panel earlier in the hearing that the administration would oppose such action.

Paul said that while the administration should not have to consult “535 negotiators” — referring to lawmakers — the White House should accept some form of Corker’s legislation. He suggested an annual vote to keep economic sanctions suspended.

“Come and sell us,” Paul urged Blinken. “You have to sell us because we’re your boss … we’re not your subjugates, we’re your equal.”