U.S. says legislation and negotiation should go hand-in-hand with Iran
Jen Psaki, the spokesperson for the State Department, made the remarks on Thursday during her daily press briefing. Psaki responded to a question related to the short-term phase one deal the U.S. and other countries are attempting to reach with Iran to halt the country's nuclear program. When asked if the deal could backfire and buy Iran months of clandestine work to develop nuclear weapons, Psaki said the U.S. is going into the deal with open eyes.
"We're not going to entertain before we've even agreed to an agreement," Psaki said. "We certainly go into this, as we've said all along, with eyes wide open. This is not about trust; this is about determining the best path forward. And I believe, if I recall from watching the president, he was also talking about sanctions and what the appropriate step was, and the importance of having our legislative and negotiating track run hand-in-hand."
When further pushed about the possibility that Iran could cheat the deal, Psaki said Congress should at least consider the chance that diplomacy could resolve the issue.
"Why shouldn't Congress, as they're thinking about whether they're going to put new sanctions in place, consider giving the opportunity for diplomacy to work itself through?" Psaki said. "I think the broad point here is what's the alternative? The alternative is that Iran continues to take steps forward toward developing a nuclear weapon."
Psaki said the State Department feels diplomacy is the best path to stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons capability.