White House promises veto of Iran sanctions bill

 

White House press secretary Jay Carney on Thursday said President Obama would veto a new Iran sanctions bill that has significant Democratic support.

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"We don't think this action is necessary, we don't think it will be enacted," Carney said, referring to the sanctions legislation from Sens. Robert Menendez (D- N.J) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). "If it were enacted, the president would veto it."

Carney said the legislation would "derail negotiations just when diplomacy is making progress."

"It would potentially divide the international community and obviously would suggest bad faith on the part of the United States," he said. Carney said there is "overwhelming support" in the U.S. and in Congress for a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear activities.

The sanctions bill, which was introduced Thursday, has the support of 26 senators from across party lines.

The legislation would impose new sanctions on Iran if its government fails to comply with the interim nuclear deal the U.S. and its allies reached last month. The bill would also require that any final deal with Iran end its ability to enrich uranium.

“Current sanctions brought Iran to the negotiating table and a credible threat of future sanctions will require Iran to cooperate and act in good faith at the negotiating table,” Menendez said in a statement Thursday. “Prospective sanctions will influence Iran’s calculus and accelerate that process toward achieving a meaningful diplomatic resolution.” 

— Rebecca Shabad contributed.