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Obama administration launches campaign against anti-Iran legislation

4 April 2015 8:25



The Obama administration has launched an outreach campaign to persuade the Republican-dominated Congress to hold its fire on Iran following an understanding reached between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1.

President Barack Obama and his administration have decided to convince lawmakers to suspend legislation against Iran until after June 30, the deadline for a final nuclear agreement.

On Thursday, the P5+1 group – the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany – reached an outline of a potentially historic agreement with Iran over its civilian nuclear work that would lift all international sanctions imposed against the Islamic Republic in exchange for certain steps Tehran will take with regard to its nuclear program.

US House Speaker John Boehner (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hold a press conference in al-Quds (Jerusalem) on April 1, 2015. (AFP photo)

On March 29, US House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner vowed to impose more sanctions on Iran should Obama fail to reach an agreement over Tehran’s nuclear energy program.

“The sanctions are going to come, and they’re going to come quick,” Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, told CNN.

However, White House spokesman Eric Schultz said on Friday that the president, Vice President Joe Biden, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, “and a whole host of other White House and senior administration officials” have been making calls to lawmakers to dissuade them from moving forward with the anti-Iran legislation.

According to Schultz, Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken, National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew are other officials making the same efforts.

In an interview with CNN on Friday, Blinken said Obama wants “to move out aggressively” to work Congress and elaborate lawmakers on “all the details” of the framework understanding.

Minority Leader Harry Reid said on Thursday “now is the time for thoughtful consideration, not rash action” that could undercut the prospects for success.

Minority Leader Harry Reid said Senate Democrats should not rush to back legislation that could hinder the successful negotiations.

“Now is the time for thoughtful consideration, not rash action that could undermine the prospects for success,” he said in a statement Thursday.

In addition, Senator Ben Cardin, who has already said he is willing to work with the White House to raise concerns on anti-Iran legislation, is looking forward “to reviewing all the details.”

Schultz said Obama has on his plan to speak with congressional leaders about the deal, noting the White House will “make sure they feel like they’re getting the information they need”.

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