|Senate majority supports Iran sanctions bill||
TEHRAN – More than half of U.S. senators support a bill to impose new sanctions on Iran if the country does not adhere to an agreement to limit its nuclear program, Reuters quoted aides as saying on Thursday, but there was no plan yet to debate the measure.
The White House has threatened to veto the legislation, and Iran says last November’s nuclear deal struck in Geneva would be dead if the U.S. Congress imposes new sanctions.
The “Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act” is now supported by at least 54 senators in the 100-member chamber, according to a congressional record, with six senators joining on Wednesday. A Senate aide said two more joined on Thursday, bringing the total to 56.
It is uncertain whether the bill will be introduced in the Senate and whether backers can win the two-thirds majority to overcome a veto by President Barack Obama. A senior Senate Democratic aide said there were no plans yet for advancing the bill to the Senate floor, despite the growing list of co-sponsors.
The bill would also place sanctions on Iran if it does not agree to a comprehensive deal later this year or next. The United States and five other world powers agreed to a six-month interim deal with Iran in Geneva in November, that can be extended to a year.
Under last year’s interim agreement, Iran will get access to billions of dollars worth of funds that had been cut off by sanctions in return for limiting enrichment of uranium.
Nuclear experts from Iran and the six powers have held several rounds of talks since the interim deal was signed to resolve issues before it can be put into place.
At least 16 Democrats support the bill introduced in December by Robert Menendez, chairma