The administration of President Barack Obama has told lawmakers in US Congress that they could pass new sanctions against Iran as far as they are not “nuclear-related.”
During a public testimony before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday, State Department official Wendy Sherman, who led the US delegation in nuclear talks with Iran in Geneva, indicated that US lawmakers had the green light from the Obama administration to pass new anti-Iran sanctions as long as the sanctions are not “nuclear-related.”
“Given that there are different kinds of sanctions and the agreement focuses on nuclear-related sanctions,” Sen. Mike Crapo, the top Republican on the Committee, asked Sherman, “assuming we can specify exactly what that is and distinguish between the different sanctions, does that mean that Congress would be free to pass other sanctions measures while we are” negotiating over a final deal over Iran’s nuclear energy program?
“We have said to Iran that we will continue to enforce all of our existing sanctions, and we have said that this agreement pertains only to new nuclear-related sanctions,” Sherman answered.
In a phone interview with Press TV on Thursday, US Congress policy advisor Frederick Peterson said that the problem with some hawkish US lawmakers who are pushing for a new anti-Iran sanctions bill is exacerbated by the way the Obama administration is “misrepresenting” the interim deal between Iran and the P5+1 to the American people and Congress.
Meanwhile, the US Departments of Treasury and State announced new sanctions against a number of companies and individuals for “providing support for” Iran’s nuclear energy program.
Treasury Department official David Cohen, who also testified before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday, said the new sanctions were “a stark reminder to businesses, banks, and brokers everywhere that we will continue relentlessly to enforce our sanctions.”
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi has hit out at Washington, saying that the new restrictions are in full contradiction with the recent nuclear deal between Tehran and the P5+1. Araqchi also said that Tehran is now assessing the current situation.