WASHINGTON, November 14 (RIA Novosti) – US President Barack Obama on Thursday urged federal lawmakers not to enact further sanctions against Iran amid ongoing negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear program.
“If we’re serious about pursuing diplomacy, there’s no need to add new sanctions on top of the sanctions that are already very effective,” Obama told a White House news conference, adding that Washington can “dial those sanctions right back up” if Iran fails to comply with an agreement.
Members of the US Congress have voiced support for additional sanctions after intense talks in Geneva between Iran and six major world powers – including the United States and Russia – to limit Tehran’s nuclear ambitions ended without an agreement on Saturday.
The “basic structure” of the conversations envisions Iran halting advancement of its nuclear program in exchange for “very modest relief at the margins of the sanctions that we’ve set up,” Obama said.
“Let’s see if this short-term, phase-one deal can be completed to our satisfaction,” he said.
Tehran offered last month to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent in exchange for the lifting of sanctions, starting with its banking industry and oil exports.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday that Iran tentatively agreed to a US proposal for limiting its nuclear program but backed out of the deal after last-minute changes during the Geneva talks, though he did not disclose which nation wanted to make the changes.
Iran insists its nuclear program is aimed at generating power for civilian purposes.