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Obama to Personally Appeal to Senators: Wait with the Sanctions

Obama will meet key senators, ask them to hold off on passing new sanctions on Iran.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/19/2013, 4:12 AM

U.S. President Barack Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama
Flash 90

President Barack Obama plans to personally appeal to senators and ask them to hold off on passing new sanctions on Iran.

According to Fox News, Obama is preparing to meet on Tuesday with key senators as part of an ongoing campaign by the administration to convince Congress not to pass new sanctions on Iran while talks in Geneva are under way.

A Senate Democratic leadership aide confirmed to Fox News on Monday that Obama will meet with members of the Senate leadership, as well as the chairmen and top Republicans on several key committees.

The administration is concerned that Congress might press ahead with a new round of tough sanctions on Iran. While lawmakers think additional sanctions could help make Iran more pliable at the negotiating table over its nuclear program, the administration argues it would have the opposite effect.

Tuesday’s meetings will come days after Obama issued a public warning to Congress, saying that a deal in the works could prevent the "unintended consequences" of war.

Obama warned that military action, if diplomacy fails, would have dangerous effects and only fuel an Iranian desire for nuclear weapons.

Over the past few weeks, the President has sent his top officials, including Vice President Joe Biden, to meet with senators and convince them to drop their plans to impose new sanctions on Iran.

The Senate Banking panel has been considering whether to act on legislation hitting Iran’s oil industry. The House overwhelmingly passed such legislation in July, but the White House has been urging Senate Democrats to hold off while multilateral talks on Iran’s nuclear program continue.

Last week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry briefed members of the Banking Committee and reportedly told the senators they should ignore anything Israel says about the Iranian nuclear issue.

Negotiators are to meet again later this week in Geneva in hopes of concluding a deal.