POLITICS
12/19/2013 01:04 am ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

Barbara Boxer, Carl Levin Warn Iran Sanctions May Derail Nuke Talks

Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) warned members of Congress Wednesday that new sanctions against Iran could derail nuclear negotiations.

In a column published in Politico Magazine, the leading Democrats lauded President Barack Obama for the preliminary deal just a month ago that would curb Iran's nuclear program. The senators noted the president's successes of bringing together international leaders in "what might be the most stringent international sanctions regime ever," and making clear the United States will stop at nothing to keep Iran free of nuclear weapons.

But some of their congressional colleagues -- namely Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) -- are drafting legislation that Boxer and Levin said may squelch efforts to negotiate a permanent nuclear accord.

"Media reports have suggested that Congress intends to pass legislation soon that would impose additional sanctions on Iran," Boxer and Levin wrote. "That would run the risk of derailing efforts toward a peaceful resolution, and risk the unity we have achieved with the world community that has been so crucial to our progress to date. Fortunately, many in Congress, us included, believe that we must test this window of opportunity, to see whether Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani can deliver on the promise of a comprehensive solution that closes Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon."

Boxer and Levin urged members of Congress to give the November agreement time, saying, "It is clearly what the American people want and expect."

Earlier this month, Secretary of State John Kerry appealed to lawmakers, urging them not to jeopardize the chances of a peaceful resolution.

"This is a very delicate diplomatic moment and we have a chance to address peacefully one of the most pressing national security concerns that the world faces today," Kerry told the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "We're at a crossroads. We're at one of those really hinge points in history. One path could lead to an enduring resolution in the international community's concerns about Iran's nuclear program. The other path could lead to continued hostility and potentially to conflict."

Read the full column in Politico Magazine here.

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