US Congress skeptical of Rouhani's offensive charm

By REUTERS
September 25, 2013 08:24

WASHINGTON - After balking at President Barack Obama's plan to attack Syria, the US Congress is also stirring in opposition to his latest foreign policy goal: an effort to improve relations with Iran.

Congress imposed sanctions that are damaging the Iranian economy and, according to US officials, are responsible for a moderate tone from Iran's new leadership, which will restart talks this week over its nuclear program.

US lawmakers have the power to lift sanctions if they think Tehran is making concessions and scaling back its nuclear ambitions, but many Republicans and some of Obama's fellow Democrats are skeptical about a charm offensive by new President Hassan Rouhani.

"We need to approach the current diplomatic initiative with eyes wide open, and we must not allow Iran to use negotiations as a tool of delay and deception," Republican Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Kelly Ayotte said in a statement.


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