Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned Congress that new unilateral sanctions against Iran could upend sensitive international negotiations over its nuclear development, imploring lawmakers to work with the Obama administration in presenting a unified front to Tehran. Echoing President Barack Obama’s deep concerns about another round of tough economic penalties, Clinton said any congressional action could undercut US work with its allies as well as American influence with Russia and China in forcing Tehran to negotiate after years of inconclusive talks. “Now that serious negotiations are finally under way, we should do everything we can to test whether they can advance a permanent solution,” Clinton said.
“As President Obama has said, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed, while keeping all options on the table.” Clinton offered her assessment in a three-page letter to Sen. Carl Levin, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee. Levin’s office released the letter, dated January 26, on Sunday. Levin and several other committee chairmen have expressed a willingness to hold off on sanctions to give diplomatic efforts a chance. However, 59 Republicans and Democrats back legislation to impose a new round of penalties on Iran, maintaining that crippling economic sanctions forced Tehran to make concessions. The legislation, sponsored by Sens. Bob Menendez and Mark Kirk would blacklist several Iranian industrial sectors and threaten banks and companies around the world with being banned from the US market if they help Iran export any more oil. The provisions would only take effect if Tehran violates the six-month interim deal or lets it expire without a comprehensive nuclear agreement. More