WASHINGTON, January 17 (Sputnik) — US President Barack Obama promised to veto new sanctions against Iran and asked Congress for more time to solve the nuclear crisis without going to war, according to his speech at the White House on Friday.
“I will veto a bill that comes to my desk,” Obama said when asked how he would handle legislation to apply sanctions against Iran for pursuing nuclear weapons. “I respectfully request them [Congress] to hold off for a few months to see if we have the possibility of solving a big problem without resorting potentially to war.”
Congress needs to be more patient, the President stressed, because sanctions will only undermine a deal that could peacefully halt Iran’s nuclear development program.
Obama rejected the notion that the United States was on an “immediate war footing” with Iran should the current round of negotiations fail. Nobody doubts, including Iran, the ability of the United States to garner support to apply more sanctions should a deal fall apart, the president added.
US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif met in Paris this week and have been trying to make progress towards a nuclear deal. The next round of P5+1 talks between Iran and world powers are due to start on Sunday.
The P5+1 group of six world powers, including Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China and Germany, initiated diplomatic efforts back in 2006 to ensure Iran’s nuclear program remained focused on peaceful applications only. Since then, the group has held several meetings with Iran, but the sides failed to reach a compromise.
The latest round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 group, held in November in Vienna, Switzerland, did not produce a comprehensive deal and the sides agreed to continue discussions in July 2015.