White House says Congress should not pass additional Iran sanction legislation

Congress should not pass additional legislation related to additional sanctions on Iran, even conditional sanctions, the White House said in a recent statement.

Josh Earnest, the principal deputy press secretary for the White House, made the remarks last week during a press gaggle in Los Angeles. When asked if the White House would object to the passage of legislation that would conditionally sanction Iran if the diplomatic track doesn't work, Earnest said Congress should not pass any additional sanction legislation.

"It would undermine the cooperation that we have enjoyed with allies and partners all around the globe when it comes to sanctions, but also, Jim, sanctions legislation has already passed the House," Earnest said. "We know, and the Iranians know, frankly, that there is strong support in the Senate for additional sanctions should Iran fail to pursue this diplomatic opportunity."

Earnest said there is no reason to pass additional sanctions legislation. Sanctions were passed in cooperation between the White House and Congress to bring Iran to the negotiating table. He said additional sanctions are no longer needed now that Iran is negotiating with the international community.

Earnest reiterated that the Obama Administration would want to work with Congress to create new sanctions if Iran fails to reach an agreement.

"We have before us a really important if not historic opportunity to resolve this situation peacefully," Earnest said. "So we've got a very important six months ahead of us here, and this diplomatic opportunity should not be complicated by additional sanctions legislation at this point. Though, as I mentioned, if Iran fails to capitalize on this opportunity, the United States and the administration would certainly want to work with Congress and our international partners for additional measures that would further isolate and pressure the Iranian regime."