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Obama to meet with Senate leaders on Iran, sanctions

Nov. 18, 2013 at 5:00 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- President Obama will meet with Senate leaders as the United States and its allies prepare for talks with Iran on its nuclear program, the White House said.

The meeting Tuesday will take place as lawmakers from both parties, as well as Israel and France, have voiced cynicism about the administration's negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday Obama has had regular meetings with top Democrats and Republicans from several committees to discuss what's happening with the so-called P5-plus-1 -- U.N. Security Council permanent member the United States, France, Britain, China and Russian, and Germany -- discussions with Iran over its nuclear program Western nations say they fear is to develop nuclear weapons but Iran says is for peaceful purpose.

Obama likely will apprise senators of "the steps that we have taken to explore the potential for a diplomatic resolution to the challenge presented by Iran's nuclear program," Carney said of another round of discussions this week in Geneva, Switzerland.

Among the matters brought up in the last round of discussion was Iran halting its nuclear program in exchange for what the White House has called a "modest" reduction in sanctions for a period of time so more a more permanent solution.

"When it comes to our position on additional sanctions, I'm sure that this will be a topic because it's the president's view that it's the right thing for Congress to do to pause so that we can test whether or not the Iranians are serious about resolving this issue diplomatically," Carney said.

"We believe there is the potential, anyway, to initiate the first phase of an agreement that would see Iran halting progress on its program and rolling back certain aspects of it," he said.

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