White House says Congress should test hypothesis that Iran is serious

The White House said on Wednesday that members of Congress should consider testing the hypothesis that Iran is serious about resolving the nuclear crisis diplomatically by delaying additional sanctions.

Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, made the remarks on Wednesday during his daily press briefing. When asked what the consequence would be if lawmakers do not hold off on adding more sanctions against Iran, Carney said the alternative to pursuing diplomacy is military action.

"It should be clear to members of Congress who do not believe we ought to pursue the potential for a peaceful resolution here that there's a binary choice," Carney said. "If not at least testing the hypothesis that Iran is serious about resolving this diplomatically, then what option do we have left? And those who take that position ought to be clear that they, in essence, are suggesting that war is the only alternative."

Carney said the new leadership of Iran indicated a willingness to engage in serious negotiations because of the comprehensive sanctions imposed by President Obama's administration. He said it is also Obama's responsibility to see whether or not the situation can be resolved diplomatically. Carney said a pause in sanctions would help the diplomatic cause.

"I think that the point is that we ought to have a pause so that these negotiations can take place and we can test whether or not there is a willingness by Iran to verifiably and transparently take steps to halt progress in its nuclear program, to roll back some of the progress that we've seen, and then to engage in a process for a final resolution of these concerns in a verifiable, transparent and concrete way," Carney said.