Secretary of State John F. Kerry called Saturday night's agreement with Iran an important "first step" in the effort to rid that nation of nuclear-weapons potential.
But even as he spoke, top lawmakers were vowing to move ahead with further economic sanctions on Iran — a step the White House surely will oppose.
"I think you'll see the Congress impose additional sanctions that won't take place for six months. ... We will define what success will look like," Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said Saturday night on CNN, shortly after the historic agreement between Iran and the international community was announced.
The deal provides a six-month window in which Iran will roll back key parts of its nuclear program in exchange for some relief from economic sanctions.
But Mr. Graham's comments indicate Congress will impose additional sanctions with an effective date sometime in 2014 and also will determine whether Iran is living up to its agreement. Such action also could mean that leaders on Capitol Hill will establish their own definition of whether Iran is acting in good faith, and their definition could differ from that of the White House.
Meanwhile, Mr. Kerry, speaking from Geneva, where high-level talks have been taking place, said the deal is by no means the end of negotiations with Iran.
"Today we are taking a serious step. ... We are taking those steps with an agreement that impedes the progress, in a very dramatic way, of Iran's principal enrichment facilities and ensures it cannot advance," Mr. Kerry said. "The fact is that if this first step leads to what is our ultimate goal, which is a comprehensive agreement, that will make the world safer."
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