WASHINGTON -- Key lawmakers said Sunday they expect to press forward with an Iran sanctions package that can be imposed quickly if the interim accord to freeze Tehran's
"I hope the deal can be successful," Menendez said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "But we need to be ready to move forward."
No action is likely in
Iran denies that it intends to develop nuclear weapons, and insists its enrichment program is intended for energy and other peaceful purposes. The Obama administration believes Iran is inching closer to a nuclear weapons capability but has not made a decision to build a bomb.
Under the interim deal, Iran agreed to freeze most of its nuclear program in exchange for limited sanctions relief while negotiators try to hammer out a more sweeping agreement to prevent Iran from building a nuclear device. Any sanctions package from Congress probably would be delayed to give those talks a chance.
Republican hawks and key Democrats remain uneasy about the deal, which would allow Iran access to an estimated $7 billion in sanctions relief over the next six months. Tehran would continue to lose about $30 billion from sanctions during that period, however.
Critics say Iran already is close to bomb-making capability, and the agreement does not force it to dismantle any nuclear facilities. Proponents of the deal say it grants
“I’m very concerned,” said Sen.
He said Congress should be ready to add more sanctions to ensure "a better end game than we have now."
The senators have considered attaching a sanctions package to a must-pass defense bill being debated in the Senate.
But it's unclear if Senate leaders, including Majority Leader