White House press secretary Jay Carney said the Obama administration appreciates Congressional cooperation on tough sanctions that produced leverage over Iran, but now wants to pursue "diplomacy" with the rogue nation Tuesday in the White House press conference.
A reporter asked the White House press secretary if Secretary of State John Kerry could provide any assurances to Congress that would convince Capitol Hill to hold off on further sanctions.
Carney replied the only way to see if Iran is actually serious about giving up its ambition for nuclear weapons is to loosen sanctions and see if the Iranians reciprocate:
Q: Is there any assurance that Secretary Kerry can provide lawmakers on the Hill when he speaks to them that would persuade them to hold off on tightening sanctions?
JAY CARNEY: […] So again, this is not about being for or against sanctions. This administration has imposed the most crippling sanctions in history against Iran. And we appreciate the leverage those sanctions have given us and we appreciate the partnership that Congress has given us in that effort. But this is a decision to support diplomacy and a possible peaceful resolution to this issue. The American people justifiably and understandably prefer a peaceful solution that prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and this agreement, if it's achieved, have the potential to do that. The American people do not want a march to war.
We need to see if Iran is serious. And any deal that we and the P-5 might reach with Iran will be one that absolutely meets our standards, that would be verifiable and concrete. Any initial relief as part of the first phase would be reversible and modest. It would not in any way change the sanctions architecture that's in place, but it would allow for essentially putting some time on the clock because it would halt Iran's program and roll back aspects of its program. And if it doesn't do that, the United States won't agree to it.
This shortsighted approach with Tehran was met with skepticism at Geneva, as the French killed a deal that would have provided sanctions relief last weekend. The French foreign minister reportedly referred to the proposal as a "sucker's deal" because it would mitigate the very sanctions that brought Iran to the table.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also warned any agreement that does not require Iran to disassemble centrifuges is "very, very bad deal":