Obama Opposes New Congressional Standby Sanctions at Joint White House Press Conference

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Obama Opposes New Standby Sanctions at Joint Press Conference with UK PM David Cameron

President Obama responds to questions at a joint Press Conference with UK PM David Cameron on new Congressional Sanctions legislation on Iran’s Nuclear program should the negotiations not achieve a final agreement.

Watch this C-span video clip  we created:

Note these excerpts from President Obama’s response to the Question from ABC reporter, Jonathan Karl:

THE QUESTION I HAVE FOR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, INCLUDING THOSE FOLKS IN MY OWN PARTY, IS WHY IS IT THAT WE WOULD HAVE TO TAKE ACTIONS THAT MIGHT JEOPARDIZE THE POSSIBILITY OF GETTING A DEAL OVER THE NEXT 60 TO 90 DAYS? WHAT IS IT PRECISELY THAT IS GOING TO BE ACCOMPLISHED? I CAN TELL YOU WHAT THE RISKS ARE. I THINK DAVID SHARES MY ASSESSMENT HERE. UNDER THE INTERIM DEAL THAT BROUGHT IRAN TO THE TABLE, WE WERE NOT SUPPOSED TO INITIATE NEW SANCTIONS. YOU WILL HEAR OUR ARGUMENTS. THESE TECHNICALLY AREN’T NEW SANCTIONS, THEY ARE SIMPLY LAWS PUTTING IN PLACE THE POSSIBILITY OF ADDITIONAL SANCTIONS. ASHER YOU THAT IS NOT HOW — I ASSURE YOU THAT IS NOT HOW IRAN OR OUR PARTNERS WOULD INTERPRET IT. THE LIKELIHOOD OF THE ENTIRE NEGOTIATIONS COLLAPSE IS VERY HIGH.

[…]

IF IRAN AND SUB NOT BEING ABLE TO SAY YES, IF THEY CANNOT PROVIDE US THE KIND OF ASSURANCES — ENDS UP NOT BEING ABLE TO SAY YES, IF THEY CANNOT PROVIDE US THE KIND OF ASSURANCES TO CONCLUDE THEY ARE NOT OBTAINING A NUCLEAR WEAPON, WE WILL HAVE TO EXPLORE OTHER OPTIONS. I WILL BE THE FIRST ONE TO COME TO CONGRESS AND SAY WE NEED TO TIGHTEN THE SCREWS. THAT’S NOT THE ONLY OPTIONS THAT WILL BE AVAILABLE. I HAVE CONSISTENTLY SAID WE LEAVE ALL OPTIONS ON THE TABLE. CONGRESS SHOULD BE AWARE THAT IF THIS DIPLOMATIC SOLUTION FAILS, THE RISKS AND LIKELIHOOD THAT THIS ENDS UP BEING A MILITARY CONFRONTATION IS HEIGHTENED. CONGRESS WILL HAVE TO OWN THAT AS WELL. THAT WILL HAVE TO BE DEBATED BY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. WE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO REBUILD THE KIND OF COALITION WE NEED IN THAT CONTEXT IF THE WORLD BELIEVES WE WERE NOT SERIOUS ABOUT NEGOTIATIONS. I TAKE THIS VERY SERIOUSLY. I DON’T QUESTION THE GOOD FAITH OF SOME FOLKS WHO THINK THIS MIGHT BE HELPFUL. IT IS MY TEAM THAT IS AT THE TABLE. WE ARE DEEP IN THIS STUFF DAY IN AND DAY OUT. WE ALL MAKE JUDGMENTS BLINDLY. WE HAVE BEEN WORKING ON THIS FOR 5, 6, 7 YEARS. WE CONSULT CLOSELY WITH ALLIES LIKE THE UNITED KINGDOM AND MAKING THOSE ASSESSMENTS. I’M ASKING CONGRESS TO HOLD OFF BECAUSE OUR NEGOTIATORS, OUR PARTNERS, THOSE WHO ARM MOST — ARE ARE MOST INTIMATELY INVOLVED IN THIS, SUGGEST IT WILL JEOPARDIZE THE POSSIBILITY OF RESOLVING — PROVIDING A DIPLOMATIC SOLUTION TO ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT AND LONG LASTING NATIONAL SECURITY PROBLEMS THAT WE HAVE FACED IN A VERY LONG TIME. CONGRESS NEEDS TO SHOW PATIENCE. WITH RESPECT TO THE VETO, I SAID TO MY DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS COLLEAGUES YESTERDAY THAT I WILL VETO A BILL THAT COMES TO MY DESK. I WILL MAKE THIS ARGUMENT TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. I RESPECTFULLY REQUEST THEM TO HOLD OFF FOR A FEW MONTHS TO SEE IF WE HAVE THE POSSIBILITY OF SOLVING A BIG PROBLEM WITHOUT RESORTING POTENTIALLY TO WAR. I THINK THAT IS WORTH DOING. WE WILL SEE HOW PERSUASIVE I AM. IF I’M NOT PERSUADED IN CONGRESS, I WILL BE TAKING MY CASE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ON THIS.  THE BIG PICTURE IS VERY CLEAR. THE SANCTIONS THAT AMERICA AND THE EUROPEAN UNION PUT IN PLACE HAVE HAD AN EFFECT. THAT HAS LED TO PRESSURE. THAT PRESSURE HAS LED TO THE TALKS.

 

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