US senate majority leader insists on Iran sanctions bill

US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday vowed action on a bill to toughen sanctions on Iran over its nuclear energy program despite opposition by the White House.

“We think the Iran sanctions bill is important and ought to be dealt with in the near future,” McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, said during an interview with USA TODAY.

“It makes a lot of sense…to send a message to the Iranians that if no agreement is reached, you get tougher sanctions,” the senator added.

Congress is pushing for a new round of sanctions against Iran if nuclear negotiations between Tehran and the P5+1 fail to reach an agreement by a July deadline.

US President Barack Obama has warned Congress that he would veto any measures to impose new sanctions on Iran because it would halt the nuclear negotiation process.

McConnell unyielding on Israel

Senator McConnell also defended a controversial invitation for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak at Congress about harsher sanctions on Iran.

House Speaker John Boehner invited Netanyahu to address Congress on March 3. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest has described the invitation as a breach of protocol.

“I think we should go ahead and have the speech because the issue is very timely in this country, and this is an American initiative, not an Israeli initiative,” McConnell argued.

“I’m not sure what the custom is,” he said, dismissing the idea of a breach of protocol. “We now have a new Republican Congress. It has a different agenda in many respects from that of the president.”

Iran and the P5+1 states — the US, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany — are making intensive efforts to narrow their differences and pave the way for a final, long-term nuclear accord.

By Press TV


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