Washington (AFP) – US senators have vowed to stay the implementation of new Iran sanctions if Tehran takes verifiable steps such as immediately halting uranium enrichment, ahead of a new round of talks on its suspect nuclear program.
In a letter sent to President Barack Obama last week, a group of leading Democratic and Republican senators said they would be prepared to match Iran’s actions and hold off threatened new sanctions on the already struggling Iranian economy.
“Iran’s first confidence-building action should be full cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency,” the group, led by the Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, Senator Bob Menendez.
Tehran should also implement all UN Security Council resolutions on its nuclear weapons program “to include immediate suspension of all enrichment activity.”
“If the Iranian government takes these steps in a verifiable and transparent manner, we are willing to match Iran’s good-faith actions by suspending the implementation of the next round of sanctions currently under consideration by the Congress,” said the letter released on Monday.
“In short, the US should consider, with the other members of the P5+1, a ‘suspension for suspension’ initial agreement — in which Iran suspends enrichment and the US suspends the implementation of new sanctions,” it added.
The letter, signed by 10 US senators, including veteran Republicans John McCain and Lindsey Graham, stressed however that in the meantime the threat of military force remained and called on Obama to up the pressure on Iran through existing sanctions.