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Key Democrats Pull Back on Iran Sanctions Threat

A key group of Senate Democrats has told the White House they will hold their fire on Iran sanctions until March 24th, taking pressure off the Obama administration as it seeks to complete negotiations about the country's nuclear program.

"In acknowledgment of your concern regarding congressional action on legislation at this moment, we will not vote for this legislation on the Senate floor before March 24," the letter sent from 10 Senate Democrats to the president read. "After March 24, we will only vote for this legislation on the Senate floor if Iran fails to reach agreement on a political framework that addresses all parameters of a comprehensive agreement."

During his State of the Union address last week, Obama strongly opposed any potential move by Congress to pass additional sanctions on Iran before negotiations were complete, threatening to veto any sanctions if they reached his desk.

"New sanctions passed by this Congress, at this moment in time, will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails -- alienating America from its allies; making it harder to maintain sanctions; and ensuring that Iran starts up its nuclear program again," Obama said. "It doesn't make sense."

The letter from Democrats means it's unclear what Congress will be able to pass in relation to additional sanctions on Iran in the interim, and may simply stall any talks of Congressional action until after March 24th.

Sen Bob Corker (R-TN), who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says it may send the wrong message to Iran if the Senate acts with clear divisions on a strategy.

"On an issue this important to our nation I would think we would want to speak as strongly as we can," Corker told reporters today, "What you don't want Iran to see is a divide here, I mean that would be the worst message your could send."