WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The fate of a new package of sanctions on Iran proposed by U.S. lawmakers may hinge on whether Iran and six major world powers can make any progress at high-level talks this weekend toward resolving a dispute over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
There is broad support among Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress to add more oil- and banking-related sanctions aimed at pressuring Tehran to abandon its nuclear program.
But the proposed package of sanctions stalled in the gridlocked U.S Senate in late March, just before lawmakers left Washington for a two-week break.
Lawmakers, who return to Congress on Monday, will be watching to see what comes from the talks in Turkey for clues about where to take the proposed new sanctions.
“Maybe the talks actually increase the pressure when we’re back in session next week,” said one Senate aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
If the talks accomplish little, there will be renewed pressure on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to make a deal to advance the new sanctions, said a senior Republican congressional aide.
“If there’s a real credible agreement there, then the need for further sanctions will be diminished. If it collapses, and is a joke like last time, then certainly the Reid position will weaken very rapidly,” the Republican aide said.
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