Twenty-seven senators propose new Iran sanctions legislation

U.S. Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) joined 25 other U.S. senators on Thursday to introduce bipartisan legislation proposing prospective sanctions on Iran.

The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act would institute new sanctions on Iran if it breaches the interim Joint Plan of Action or if it fails to reach a final agreement. The legislation would require further reductions in purchases of Iranian petroleum and apply added penalties to certain elements of Iran's economy.

"Current sanctions brought Iran to the negotiating table and a credible threat of future sanctions will require Iran to cooperate and act in good faith at the negotiating table," Menendez said. "The Iranians last week blamed the administration for enforcing sanctions; now, they criticize Congress. The burden rests with Iran to negotiate in good faith and verifiably terminate its nuclear weapons program."

The proposed legislation gives the administration up to one year from the conclusion of an implementing agreement to pursue a diplomatic track resulting in the verifiable and complete termination of Iran's nuclear weapons program.

"Prospective sanctions will influence Iran's calculus and accelerate that process toward achieving a meaningful diplomatic resolution," Menendez said.

Kirk said the bill could protect the American people from deception by the Iranian regime.

"The American people rightfully distrust Iran's true intentions and they deserve an insurance policy to defend against Iranian deception during negotiations," Kirk said.