WASHINGTON -- The Senate’s two leading Iran hawks are pushing for legislation that would extend sanctions against Iran for 10 years, despite repeated pleadings from the White House to hold off on additional sanctions until the conclusion of ongoing negotiations between Iran, the U.S. and five partner countries over the terms of a nuclear deal.
Negotiators from the countries face a self-imposed deadline of July 7 to reach an agreement that would significantly curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. President Barack Obama has vowed that Iran will only receive relief from sanctions that were initially imposed in response to its nuclear program.
Recent legislative efforts by Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) underline the complicated nature of the president's promise. If passed, their bill would extend the 1996 Iran Sanctions Act, currently set to expire at the end of 2016, until 2026. This legislation refers to Iran’s nuclear program, as well as its support for terrorist groups and ballistic missiles programs -- and sanctions for the latter two are supposed to remain intact after any nuclear agreement.
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