State Department says support is broad for diplomatic resolution with Iran

Despite the recent introduction of a bill to conditionally institute sanctions against Iran, the U.S. State Department said on Thursday there is broad support in Congress to resolve the conflict with Iran diplomatically.

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 recent introduction of a bill to institute sanctions against Iran if a broader deal isn't reached. She said there are multiple members of Congress who understand the State Department's recommendation to hold off on new sanctions legislation.

"There is broad support in Congress for resolving this issue diplomatically," Harf said. "A number of prominent Democratic and Independent senators have publicly expressed their opposition to new sanctions legislation while negotiations are ongoing, among them, chairman of the Intelligence Committee Dianne Feinstein, chairman of Armed Services Carl Levin, chairman of the Banking Committee Senator (Tim) Johnson (D-S.D.). There's a host of others that have publicly come out and said we need to give our negotiators the best chance to succeed."

Harf said there is no need to put in a deferred trigger because the U.S. could easily do so at the end of the six months if the agreement falls apart. She said new sanctions legislation would be an unnecessary risk that would threaten negotiations.

"If Congress passes this bill, which is an if at this point, it would be proactively taking an action that would undermine American diplomacy and make a peaceful resolution to this issue less possible," Harf said. "I hear - we hear a lot from the Hill about how they want to resolve this peacefully. What we need to see - more than words, we need to see actions to back that up. We don't believe this one does."