House Dem: Sanctions can be 'ready to go' if Iran talks fail

Democratic Rep. Brad ShermanBradley (Brad) James ShermanOmar feuds with Jewish Democrats Lawmakers tout bipartisan support for resolution criticizing Iran's government Biden funding decision inflames debate over textbooks for Palestinian refugees MORE (Calif.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is expressing support for legislation that would impose new sanctions on Iran if talks fail to reach a deal curbing its nuclear program.

"It is not in breach of these negotiations to have sanctions ready to go on July 1 if no deal is reached," Sherman told The Hill after an event hosted by the Israel Allies Foundation Monday evening at the Capitol.


The White House has issued a veto threat on any new sanctions legislation passed while the talks between world powers and Iran are ongoing.

A sanctions bill, by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) is expected to be introduced as early as this week. Their bill would impose sanctions if the talks fail, but no sooner than July 6, after the June 30 deadline for negotiations. The bill also contains a provision that would allow the president to waive the sanctions every 30 days for an indefinite period of time.

Sherman said the president has acknowledged that sanctions have worked to bring Iran to the negotiating table. 

"They gave the president leverage that he didn't ask for, and whatever success we've had is a result of that effort," he said. 

The House Foreign Affairs Committee is hosting a hearing Tuesday morning on the state of negotiations. The deadline for talks has already been extended twice, and the State Department has floated the possibility of another extension. 

"Hopefully by June 30th, there'll be a good deal," he added. "[But] for the president to say, it's the sanctions I opposed that brought them to the negotiations — but don't pass any more sanctions that I oppose? No.

"You can be sure Iran has a program ready to go July 1 if the talks break up," he added. "They know what they're going to do the next day."  

Sherman also defended Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress in March, which was made without notifying the White House.

"On the one hand, the White House should not have been blindsided. But on the other hand, until my party does better, its Boehner's rule. He gets to invite whoever he wants," said Sherman.