White House press secretary Jay Carney said President Obama would veto a new Iran sanctions bill introduced in the Senate Thursday, which would give the Obama administration up to a year to negotiate before the sanctions would kick in.
The White House said it didn't think the Senate bill would be enacted and didn't think it should be enacted.
"Passing new sanctions legislation now will undermine our efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution," Carney said.
Below is a transcript of the exchange:
Q: So very last one on this, then. All the cases you just made very passionately, and the president has made, I understand, some of his top aides have been calling Democratic senators, urging them not to do this, you've got some of the top Democrats — Schumer, Pryor, Landrieu, Casey and Menendez, as I mentioned, the Democratic chairman — several top Democrats are saying, no. What does that say about the president standing with his own party right now, that they're defying him?
MR. CARNEY: I think that there is overwhelming support in the country and in the Congress for a diplomatic resolution to this conflict.
Q: But they say that —
MR. CARNEY: It is the far preferable choice that we resolve this challenge with Iran, with our international allies, diplomatically, peacefully, even as we leave all options for resolving it on the table, including the use of military force.
It is absolutely his responsibility, the president believes, to fully test whether we can achieve a comprehensive solution through diplomatic means and before he — and to fully test that proposition before he pursues alternatives. And passing new sanctions legislation now will undermine our efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution and greatly —
Q: So — (inaudible) — war more likely, or are you saying that — (inaudible) —
MR. CARNEY: — increase the chances that the United States would have to take military action.
Now, let me just back up to where I started. We don't believe this proposal is necessary, as I think we've made clear and we have been discussing with members of Congress for quite some time. We don't believe it will be enacted. We certainly know it's not necessary. If it were to pass, the president would veto it.
Q: Why don't — (off mic) —
MR. CARNEY: Because of the case we just made, we believe, is both accurate and persuasive.