ABCNEWS – This morning on “This Week,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he’s confident the U.S. should move forward with new sanctions on Iran, despite efforts by the Obama administration to delay such a move.
“I think that the possibility of moving ahead with new sanctions, including wording it in such a way that if there is a deal that is acceptable that those sanctions could cease upon such a deal, is possible,” Menendez said on “This Week” Sunday.
Talks in Geneva, Switzerland to suspend Iran’s controversial nuclear enrichment program fell apart Saturday with no agreement. On Thursday, Obama administration officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, pressed Congress to hold off on any new sanctions while negotiations continued. Menendez argued that increased sanctions would offer “an insurance for the United States to make sure that Iran actually complies with an agreement that we would want to see.”
“At the same time it’s also an incentive to the Iranians to know what’s coming if you don’t strike a deal,” he added. “So I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to move forward on a package that ultimately would send a very clear message where we intend to be if the Iranians don’t strike a deal and stop their nuclear weapons program.”
Menendez urged negotiators to stick to the deal put forward by the U.N. Security Council, which calls for Iran to cease all enrichment and accept stricter protocols on inspection and oversight of its nuclear facilities.
A move away from this position, Menendez said, suggests “we seem to want the deal almost more than the Iranians. And you can’t want the deal more than the Iranians, especially when the Iranians are on the ropes.”