President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and the rest of the administration’s foreign-policy team has been urging Congress not to add new sanctions on Iran for its continued enrichment of uranium in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions. But Congress disagrees–including House Democrats, who on Wednesday urged the Senate to pass tough new Iran sanctions passed by the House earlier this year.
Prior to last week’s failed nuclear talks in Geneva, the administration made the rather hopeful argument that holding off on new sanctions might give diplomacy a chance. Yet after the deal–which would have allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium–fell through, that case is harder to make. Ironically, the chances of a deal succeeding likely increase with new sanctions, which (theoretically) give the U.S. more leverage.
On Wednesday, Kerry reportedly urged the Senate to “stop listening to the Israelis,” and to believe what the administration was saying about negotiations instead–remarks that alarmed many Republican Senators. Democrats seemed less scathing, but equally inclined to ignore the administration’s feeble assurances and to keep the pressure on Iran, knowing that once it crosses the nuclear threshold, there is no turning back.