The issue of how to handle Iran is one that is coming to fruition, again. This week, Congress and the president have been at odds over the proposed idea of additional sanctions.
It began when Democratic Senator Rober Menendez, former chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and President Obama engaged in a argument over the Congressional agenda to push for more sanctions on Iran at the Senate Democratic Issues Conference.
While Senator Menendez reminded the President he has worked for more than 20 years to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions, he does not want to wait for the talks to fail to issue new sanctions.
However, the President warned of the implications of doing so in a press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron earlier today.
“Under the interim deal that brought Iran to the table, we are not supposed to issue new sanctions,” he said. “The likelihood of the entire negotiations collapsing is very high.”
Obama also questioned why Congress would want jeopardize the deal.
“The questions that I had for the members of Congress, including those of my own party, is why is it that we would have to take actions that might jeopardize the possibility of getting a deal over the next 60 to 90 days?”
Prime Minister David Cameron even called a few Congressmen to explain Britain's involvement in the nuclear deal and what it would mean to jeopardize it with new sanctions. Both leaders take this issue very seriously and reminded Congress that their work to get Iran to the negotiating table has taken six years of forcible sanctions.
“I am asking Congress to hold off because our negotiators and are partners assessed that it would jeopardize a diplomatic solution,” Obama said. “Congress needs to show patience.”
That patience will be tested if nothing positive comes out of the next scheduled talks this Sunday in Geneva. ABC News reports that the U.S. will be joined by China, France, Germany, and Russia.
However, even if Congress decides to debate and possibly pass a new round of sanctions, the president issued another veto threat, simply declaring, “I will veto a bill that comes to my desk.”
Yet, Iran is where the issue lies. Compromise will only occur if they stay on track and continue to negotiate.
Just last week, The New York Times reported that Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei explained to his country that “the Americans boldly say that the sanctions will not be removed all at once and immediately, even if Iran compromises. Given these facts, can such an enemy be trusted?”
Even Obama reminded us that “Iran is a regime that is deeply suspicious of the West, of the U.S.”
So tensions with Iran still exist, and the pursuit of either sanctions or negotiations cannot forget this important fact. President Obama knows this and hopes the coming talks can back his plead to Congress.
“I have always said, the chances we can get a diplomatic deal are probably less than 50/50,” he said.