Congress is considering a new series of hard-hitting Iran sanctions on everything from mining and construction to the Islamic republic’s already besieged oil industry. But administration and congressional officials tell The Associated Press that the Obama administration is concerned that the measures could interfere with negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the sanctions publicly.
Officials say even as the bills advance,the Senate is providing the administration more time to gauge whether Iran’s incoming president,Hasan Rouhani (hah-SAHN’ roh-HAH’-nee),is serious about making concessions. Some lawmakers are concerned that Iran is too close to reaching nuclear weapons capability to warrant any delay. The Iranians insist their program is solely for peaceful energy and research purposes.