State Department says Congress was briefed on commitment to limit Iran sanctions

Members of Congress were briefed before the U.S. agreed to the provision that the Obama Administration would refrain from imposing new nuclear-related sanctions against Iran, the State Department said on Thursday.

Marie Harf, the deputy spokesperson for the State Department, made the remarks on Thursday during her daily press briefing. Harf responded to a question about the provision, which was part of the Joint Plan of Action signed by the P5+1 in Geneva during denuclearization negotiations with Iran. When asked if Congress was notified that the provision was included in the agreement, Harf said members of Congress were briefed throughout the process.

"As you know, we certainly briefed the Hill and members of Congress throughout the Geneva process in closed settings," Harf said. "We did it with leadership, we did it with key committees, we offered them to all members on a couple of occasions, I think. I can double-check on what those conversations look like and whether that was part of them."

Harf went on to say that new sanctions would actually have the opposite of their intended effect in relation to Iran's nuclear program.

"The goal of sanctions, according to some folks, is to ratchet up the pressure," Harf said. "Well, if we put in place new sanctions now and our partners around the world end up - are fraying the international sanctions regime, it would have the exact opposite impact of what new sanctions would be intended to do."