The Washington Post reports: Lawmakers acknowledged Tuesday that they were unlikely to impose new economic sanctions on Iran while sensitive nuclear talks are underway, removing a potential obstacle to a diplomatic settlement that U.S. officials say could come within days.
The decision to delay action on new sanctions came as a new Washington Post-ABC News poll showed widespread approval for a deal with Iran, even if that deal means lifting some of the economic restrictions that have helped force Iran to the negotiating table.
A bipartisan group of senators emerged from a two-hour White House meeting saying there would likely be no vote this week on proposed new sanctions targeting Iran’s oil industry. Still, some lawmakers continue to push to ratchet up the pressure on Iran, despite warnings that such a move could prompt the country’s representatives to abandon international negotiations scheduled to resume Wednesday in Geneva.
“People are concerned that we’re giving up some leverage,” Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters after the White House meeting.
The agreement to delay a sanctions vote came as diplomats from the United States, Iran and five other countries arrived in Geneva for the start of potentially decisive negotiations on the future of Iran’s nuclear program. Diplomats — after coming close to a deal two weeks ago — are seeking to finalize what U.S. officials describe as a first step in a comprehensive agreement on permanent limits to Iran’s nuclear capabilities. [Continue reading…]