Iran sanctions hit delay in U.S. Senate ahead of Geneva talks

Published: Updated:

The U.S. Senate is unlikely to impose a fresh round of sanctions on Iran until after Tehran holds nuclear talks with world powers later this month, congressional aides told Reuters news agency on Tuesday.

The Senate Banking Committee was due in September to review a new package of sanctions, but it now will not do so for a few more weeks.

“There’s been some discussion about whether it’s best right now, while the negotiations are occurring, just to keep the existing ones in place,” Senator Bob Corker, the senior Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a member of the Banking Committee, told Reuters.

The remarks come as the United States is under pressure not to squeeze Iran too hard, amid hopes for improved ties between both countries.

The sanctions delay could create a better atmosphere at talks between Iran and six major nations in Geneva on Oct. 15-16, the first such encounter since President Barack Obama and new Iranian President Hassan Rowhani held a historic phone call last week.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday that Israel is ready to act “alone” to stop Iran from building a nuclear bomb.

“Israel will not allow Iran to get nuclear weapons. If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone,” Netanyahu said, in a grim warning to world leaders and ministers.

He said Rowhani cannot be trusted and that the only way to peacefully stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons is to combine tough sanctions with a credible military threat.

“I wish I could believe Rowhani. But I don’t,” Netanyahu said.

Israel’s future, he said, is threatened by a “nuclear-armed” Iran, seeking its destruction.

“Iran wants to be in a position to rush forward to build nuclear bombs before the international community can detect it and much less prevent it,” he added.

“A nuclear armed Iran in the Middle East wouldn’t be another North Korea -- it would be another 50 North Koreas.”

(With Reuters and AFP)