White House urges Senate to hold off on new Iran sanctions. Why? Now is the time to ratchet up the pressure.

whitehouseThe Obama administration is moving to pressure Congress not to pass new sanctions on Iran. But the question is, “Why?” Now is precisely the time to ratchet up the pressure on Iran, whose economy is staggering due to the combined impact of the international sanctions that have been imposed in recent years.

Iran is dangerously close to reaching breakout capacity to build nuclear weapons. Iran has finally come to the negotiating table. But time appears to be running out. If the regime in Tehran has any interest in cutting a genuine deal to truly give up its uranium enrichment program (which I personally doubt, but would love to see) in return for a lifting of the sanctions, wonderful. If they don’t, war could come. So Iran should be sent a clear message via more sanctions that the world is not about to be beguiled by their “charm offensive.”

Let’s be praying for a major breakthrough, and praying for the Lord to give wisdom to U.S. and Israeli leaders on how best to proceed. Meanwhile, let’s keep praying for the persecuted Christians inside Iran, and praying that the Lord opens the eyes of many more Iranians — including within the regime — to come to faith in Jesus Christ.

“Vice President Joe Biden led a high-powered delegation to Capitol Hill on Thursday to try to persuade US lawmakers to hold off on any more sanctions against Iran and let delicate diplomatic talks over Tehran’s nuclear program unfold,” reports Ynet News. “President Barak Obama is convinced that there is the potential for an international deal to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon but worries that congressional pressure for additional sanctions could complicate negotiations.”

“Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew held a closed-door session with Senate Democratic leaders and Republican and Democratic members of the Senate Banking Committee to update them on major power talks with Iran,” notes Ynet. “A new round of negotiations is set for next week in Geneva. An official in Biden’s office said the administration’s message was that there may come a point when more sanctions are needed, but now may not be the best time for Congress to act. But the appeal to wait is a tough sell in Congress, which tends to take a harder line on Iran than the administration. Several lawmakers said after the meeting they had not been convinced, and that fresh sanctions are needed to discourage Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.”

“I’m not ready to commit” to further delay, Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a member of the Banking Committee, told reporters.

“Republican Senator Mark Kirk, who strongly opposes any move to hold off on sanctions, said that if the banking committee delays its vote, he would seek to add more Iran sanctions to a defense authorization bill that could come to the Senate floor in November,” Ynet reports.

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