McCain, a close friend of Secretary of State John Kerry, who heads the diplomatic efforts with Iran, said in a BBC interview: "I am skeptical of talks with Iran but willing to give the Obama administration a couple months."
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Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Jewish Sen. Carl Levin, said that "whether it is a 10%, 40% or 60% chance (that the change is real), it should be tested and probed. We should not at this time impose additional sanctions."
Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Sen. Dianne Feinstein said: "I am baffled by the insistence of some senators to undermine the P5+1 talks. I will continue to support these negotiations and oppose any new sanctions as long as we are making progress toward a genuine solution." The Jewish senator wrote on her Congress website: "The purpose of sanctions was to bring Iran to the negotiating table, and they have succeeded in doing so. Tacking new sanctions onto the defense authorization bill or any other legislation would not lead to a better deal. It would lead to no deal at all."
Sentaor Chris Murphy from Connecticut said that "at this critical juncture in these negotiations when Iran may be on the verge of making serious concessions regarding its nuclear program, I worry it would be counterproductive for Congress to authorize a new round of sanctions, diminishing American leverage and weakening the hands of Secretary Kerry and his counterparts in the P5+1."
This is the first time that several senior senators assent to the White House request, to allow the world powers to promote the current negotiations that will be renewed Wednesday in Geneva, without exerting pressure on Iran by imposing further sanctions. As of now, there is greater support in increasing the sanctions; however it is doubtful whether the legislation will be promoted prior to the next round of talks.
One of the major differences is Iran's right to enrich uranium. The Iranians demand that it would be part of the agreement, while the US and the other powers oppose. The world powers' proposal is to have Iran able to continue, for the duration of the negotiations, to enrich uranium to 3.5% and in return they would remove their already-enriched uranium to 20%, in order to assure that Iran does not advance towards a nuclear weapon during the talks.
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