WASHINGTON - Legislation to impose tough new sanctions on Iran could come to the US Senate floor next week, just as diplomats head to Geneva for a third round of talks aimed at curbing Tehran's suspected nuclear weapons work.
President Barack Obama has appealed to Congress to hold off on new sanctions to allow time to pursue a diplomatic deal. But Congress is generally more hawkish about Iran than the administration, and both Republicans and some of Obama's fellow Democrats have balked at any further delay.
Frustrated that the Senate Banking Committee has delayed a tough new sanctions package at the White House's request, several Republicans said they were considering forcing the issue by offering more restrictions on Iran as an amendment to a defense authorization bill expected to come to the Senate floor by the middle of next week.
"That means we get the defense bill on the eve of Geneva Part three and all of this back-and-forth between Congress and the White House comes to a head," a senior Senate aide said.