US lawmakers acknowledged on Tuesday that they were unlikely to impose new sanctions on Iran after yet another appeal by US President Barack Obama to postpone the vote on any new sanctions while sensitive nuclear talks are underway.
In a two-hour meeting, Obama briefed Democrat and Republican senators from the committees for Foreign Relations, Armed Services, and Intelligence and Banking on the talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, known as the P5+1, which includes Russia, China, France, Britain and the US plus Germany. Talks are set to resume in Geneva.
Republican Senator Bob Corker, who serves on both the Foreign Relations and Banking Committees, said following his meeting with the president that many of the senators who attended the meeting were "not satisfied at all" with the president's justifications, but admitted that; "I don't see anything happening until we get back [on 2 December from Thanksgiving recess]".
Senators from both parties have repeatedly expressed their intention to impose a new batch of sanctions against Iran, believing the previous sanctions were what prompted Iran to come to the negotiating table for the current talks. However, the White House fears that imposing new sanctions against Iran would weaken the Iranian delegation's position in Geneva, which would strengthen the hardliners in Iran. The US administration wants to briefly ease the sanctions as a goodwill gesture from Washington, with the possibility of resuming them at any moment.
The latest round of negotiations between Iran and world powers ended on 9 November without reaching an agreement, but are set to reconvene this week.