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White House seeks more time from Hill for Iran deal

- The Washington Times - Friday, November 22, 2013

Negotiations with Iran over that nation's nuclear program continue to plod along, but Senate leaders have put a clock on those talks by announcing plans to enact further sanctions against Iran as soon as next month.

Such sanctions could sink a potential agreement, and the White House on Friday asked lawmakers to continue giving U.S. and international negotiators the "space" they need to bring a deal to the finish line.

"We need to see what happens in the negotiations," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters. "It is our belief that [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid, or our hope, will continue to give the president and our ... negotiating partners the space they need."

Mr. Reid, Nevada Democrat, has said he plans to bring harsher Iranian sanctions to the Senate floor next month and will vote in favor of them.

"I will support a bill that would broaden the scope of our current petroleum sanctions, place limitations on trade with strategic sectors of the Iranian economy that support its nuclear ambitions, as well as pursue those who divert goods to Iran," he said on the Senate floor Thursday.

The Obama administration backs a deal that would ease some sanctions against Iran in exchange for that nation halting key parts of its nuclear program and submitting to tighter international inspections.

That agreement is currently being negotiated in Geneva in high-level talks between Iran and the U.S. and its partners in the so-called "P5+1" coalition: Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany.

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