WASHINGTON – U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday that he plans to sign the bill into law that Congress is debating about nuclear negotiations with Iran, and promised that this legislation “will not derail negotiations” to reach a final accord with Tehran before the end of June.
During a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Obama also said that, until the United States and five other world powers reach “a definitive agreement” with Iranian authorities, sanctions must continue to be strictly applied.
Obama defended the Senate’s bipartisan bill, which would oblige U.S. lawmakers to review the accord between Iran and the P5+1 – the United States, China, France, Britain and Russia, plus Germany – once the negotiators reach a final pact.
“I think the final product that emerged out of the Corker-Cardin negotiations...will not derail the negotiations,” Obama said of the bilateral agreement led by Republican Sen. Bob Corker and Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin.
The senators promoting the bill have promised that this will be “a straightforward, fair process for Congress to be able to evaluate any deal that we may come up with, and then register its views, but that it’s not going to be tilted in the direction of trying to kill the deal,” the president said.
“But assuming that what lands on my desk is what Senators Corker and Cardin agreed to, I will sign it,” he said.
The Senate bill gained the mistrust of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who warned that his country is not negotiating with the U.S. Congress.
Obama emphasized that “this is not a formal treaty that is being envisioned,” but rather a “political agreement” between Iran and the leaders of the P5+1 countries.
The president said that during the nuclear negotiations between now and the June 30 deadline, the nations involved will have to be “creative” when it comes to deciding the complex question of when to free Tehran of international sanctions.
Obama said he believed that by “having in reserve the possibility of putting back and applying forceful sanctions in the event of a violation, that goal can be met.”