Kerry opposes additional sanctions on Iran

US secretary of state wants "temporary pause" in imposition of more sanctions amid nuclear negotiations.

    Kerry opposes additional sanctions on Iran
    Iran and world powers came close to a preliminary nuclear agreement at the weekend during talks in Geneva [EPA]

    Secretary of State John Kerry believes it would be a "mistake" for the US Congress to impose additional sanctions on Iran now amid negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear programme, a State Department spokeswoman said.

    Jen Psaki said Kerry, who will hold a closed-door briefing on Iran at the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday, wants a "temporary pause" in the imposition of additional sanctions on Tehran by US lawmakers to give diplomacy a chance.

    Iran and six world powers - the US, Britain, Russia, France, China and Germany - came close to a preliminary nuclear agreement at the weekend during talks in Geneva and decided to resume negotiations on November 20 in their attempt to defuse a decade-old standoff.

    Israel and some Western governments fear Iran is using its nuclear programme as a covert means to develop weapons, a charge that Tehran denies.

    Negotiators are searching for a preliminary agreement that would cap Iran's nuclear capacity and open up the programme to UN inspectors.

    In exchange, they have offered some relief from sanctions, a concession Iran says does not go far enough.

    Under discussion is a temporary deal entailing a freeze to higher-grade uranium enrichment - which Iran bills as fuel for a medical research reactor but which is also potential material for bombs - lasting about six months.

    During that time, Iran and the six powers would negotiate a permanent agreement aimed at ensuring that none of Iran's nuclear activities could be diverted towards bomb-making.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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