Obama marks initial success in keeping new Iran sanctions away

Several Democrats in Congress back down from measure imposing new sanctions on Iran after Obama's threat to veto.

January 30, 2014 10:59
1 minute read.

Most Americans think Obama not doing enough to stop Iran. (photo credit: REUTERS)

US President Barack Obama has succeeded in convincing several Democratic members of Congress not to push for immediate passage of a new sanctions bill on Iran, AFP reported on Thursday.

The senators who were pushing for new sanctions against Iran backed off their stance following Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday, in which he threatened to veto any such bill.

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The measure to impose new sanctions reportedly had 59 likely votes, including of 16 Democrats.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democratic, told AFP that he too backed down after feeling more comfortable with the current interim deal that was signed in Geneva on November 24 between Iran and six world powers.

"I am strongly supporting the bill but I think a vote is unnecessary right now as long as there's visible and meaningful progress" Blumenthal said.

Democratic Senator Chris Coons echoed Blumenthal, saying "now is not the time for a vote on an Iran sanctions bill."

The White House has been pushing to stop such a measure from passing, fearing the that new sanctions would impede the diplomatic process that proved temporarily successful in Geneva.

The Obama Administration's move against sanctions came as an annual US intelligence assessment was presented to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.

The report highlighted the still-current threat of the Iranian nuclear program.

The nuclear program made further progress in the year before the interim deal kicked in, making it possible for Iran to create a nuclear weapon, Politico quoted the the report as saying.

There are no longer any technical constraints stopping the country from creating missiles loaded with nuclear warheads. The decision to create such weapons lies in the "political will" of its leaders.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper submitted written testimony to the committee, stating, “Tehran has made technical progress in a number of areas — including uranium enrichment, nuclear reactors, and ballistic missiles — from which it could draw if it decided to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons.”

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