- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 15, 2014

As nuke talks with Iran faltered Tuesday, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce called for the Obama administration to start working on new sanctions against the Islamic state.

“In light of [Secretary of State John Kerry‘s] comments today in Vienna that ‘very real gaps’ remain between Iran and the international community, my hope is that the administration will finally engage in robust discussions with Congress about preparing additional sanctions against Iran,” said Mr. Royce, California Republican.

Iran’s Supreme Leader has made clear that Iran will not agree to dismantle its nuclear weapons program. In fact, he seeks to expand it. As Secretary Kerry has stated in the past, ‘no deal is better than a bad deal,’” he said.

Mr. Kerry, in Vienna for talks with Iran to curb its nuclear weapons program before a Sunday deadline, said the discussions still had a long way to go and it might require extending the deadline, perhaps for as much as six months.

“There has been tangible progress on key issues,” Mr. Kerry said. “However there are very real gaps on other key issues.”

Mr. Kerry said he had rejected a proposal from Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for Iran to keep running the country’s current battery of nuclear enrichment centrifuges, which Iran insists are for peaceful energy production.

A temporary agreement that took effect Jan. 20 has slowed Iran’s enrichment of uranium, with about half of the country’s 19,000 centrifuges operating. The U.S. believes that Iran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium to arm a single warhead in several months.