(PressTV) - On Thursday, The New York Times reported that a senior White House official has said Washington is planning to unfreeze Iran’s overseas assets in order to reciprocate the Iranian government’s confidence-building measures over its nuclear energy program.
However, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire), and Mark Kirk (R-Illinois), released a statement in response to the Time’s report calling for tougher sanctions against Iran.
“Now is a time to strengthen--not weaken--U.S. and international sanctions," the Republican senators said. "The U.S. should not suspend new sanctions, nor consider releasing limited frozen assets, before Tehran suspends its nuclear enrichment activities."
Iran is a committed signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Iranian government has stressed that its people’s rights to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, including enrichment, must be respected.
Meanwhile, some US senators are proposing a bill to increase sanctions against Iran. According to USA TODAY, the proposed legislation would match a similar bill passed by the House of Representatives in July, which sought to cut Iran’s oil exports by one million barrels a day for the next year and included threats of military force against Iran.
The proposed bill is to be discussed in the Senate banking committee after Senators return from their recess on October 28 and is not likely to come to a Senate vote until after the next round of talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the United States, China, Russia, France and Britain - plus Germany in Geneva on November 7-8.
Talks between Iran and the six world powers in Geneva on October 15-16 were described as promising by the Obama administration.
Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi stressed on Tuesday that the main goal of Geneva talks is the recognition of Iran’s enrichment right and allaying concerns over its nuclear energy program.
The United States, the Israeli regime, and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program, with the US and the European Union using the claim as an excuse to impose illegal sanctions against Tehran. Iran categorically rejects the allegation. - PressTV: Senate Republicans to defy Obama on Iran
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