U.S. holds out prospect of some sanctions relief for Iran
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman
October 3rd, 2013
05:38 PM ET

U.S. holds out prospect of some sanctions relief for Iran

By Jamie Crawford

The United States would be prepared to consider relaxing certain sanctions on Iran if it engaged in confidence-building steps to prove its sincerity to negotiate over its disputed nuclear program, a top State Department official said Thursday.

"There may be some elements that we can do initially if they take verifiable, concrete actions that will put time on the clock that are reversible or in fact don't go to any of the key sanctions that have brought them to the table," Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Sherman made clear the entire sanctions regime targeting Iran would not be lifted "any time soon" unless the entire litany of concerns about Iran's nuclear program were fully addressed.

Iran's recent opening and seeming willingness to negotiate seriously over its nuclear program is believed to be a result of crippling sanctions on its economy.

Sherman's comments come as members of both the Foreign Relations and Banking committees in the Senate consider additional sanctions as a way of increasing the pressure on Iran to negotiate in good faith with the United States and its international partners.

While that process moves forward, Sherman said such measures should wait until the next meeting of the so-called P5+1 scheduled in Geneva later this month.

"I would hope that you will allow us the time to begin these negotiations and see if, in fact, there is anything real here," she said. "With my telling of the Iranians quite directly, that if there isn't that everyone is ready to act."

Sherman will represent the United States at the meeting in Geneva.

Some members of Congress immediately voiced concern over the Obama administration's stance, and said now was not the time to relieve any pressure on Iran.

"It is critical that we increase the pressure on Iran to increase our negotiating leverage and deny Tehran the resources to continue its nuclear program," Rep. Ed Royce, R-California, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement. "Iran is only at the table because of our economic pressure. Why fool with success?"

In her testimony, Sherman said it is still too early to tell whether Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has a real mandate from the country's supreme leader to send Iran's foreign minister to Geneva with the basis to deliver tangible progress on the nuclear issue.

"I think what you're going to get is you're going to get another dog-and-pony show," Sen. James Risch (R-ID.), told Sherman. " I think you're going to get another shuffle."

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Filed under: Congress • Diplomacy • Iran • Sanctions
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. changeirannow

    The US should judge Iranian leaders by their actions, not their words. As long as Iran continues to pursue a nuclear weapons capability, build longer-range ballistic missiles, sponsor terrorism around the world and abuse human rights, the US should impose maximum economic pressure on Iran to give diplomacy a chance to succeed. Regarding human rights, Rouhani can start by immediately releasing the 7 hostages taken in the Ahsraf massacre. On September 1, Iraqi forces killed 52 residents of Camp Ashraf, and took seven hostages. In this massacre, ordered by the religious fascism ruling Iran, the attackers’ shot unarmed people while their hands were tied behind their backs and murdered(video http://bit.ly/GzSmHj ). This is a great crime against humanity that should not go unheeded in silence and inaction, especially that the rest of Ashraf residents and 3,000 residents in Camp Liberty are threatened by similar massacres. All residents of Ashraf and Liberty, including the 52 that have been cold-bloodily murdered, are protected persons by the Fourth Geneva Convention and asylum-seekers with U.S. and UN responsible for their safety. Iran needs to be held accountable and sanctions shouldn’t be lifted simply based on promises, but on concrete action.

    October 8, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Reply
  2. Trfgj Ddrhk

    NOW WHAT DOES ALL OF THIS HAVE TO DO WITH IRANS NUKE WAR PROGRAM?

    October 4, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Reply
  3. Trfgj Ddrhk

    ISRAEL IS NOT A DEMOCRACY NEVER HAS BEEN...IRAN IS NOT A DEMOCRACY EGYPT IS NOT A DEMOCRACY SYRIA IS NOT A DEMOCRACY IN FACT THANKS TO THE OILY CAPITALIST WAR PIG PUPPET MASTERS ON WALL STREETAMERICA IS EFFECTIVLY NOT A "REAL" DEMOCRACY.

    October 4, 2013 at 8:42 pm | Reply
  4. Trfgj Ddrhk

    CAN YOU POINT TO THE EXACT RELIGIOUS LANGUAGE THAT TELLS MUSLIUMS TO KILL "ISRAELIES"

    October 4, 2013 at 8:30 pm | Reply
  5. Trfgj Ddrhk

    PUT AWAY YOUR LABEL MAKER AWAY LONG ENOUGH TOO RELIZE ISRAEL IS A PROBLEM AND IRAN IS A PROBLEM AND THEY BOTH DEPEND ON EACH OTHER TO DO WHAT THEY DO WHEN THEY DO WHAT THEY DO TO WHOM EVER THEY DECIDE TOO DO IT TO WHAT EVER THAT IS IT WILL BE MULTIPLE THOUGHTS AND NO ONE EVER REMEMBERS THE GOOD THEY ONLY REMEMBER THE BAD PERIOD.

    October 4, 2013 at 8:27 pm | Reply
  6. Trfgj Ddrhk

    NOW LETS TALK ABOUT $$$.

    October 4, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Reply
  7. Trfgj Ddrhk

    I DID NOT SAY IRAN WAS AN ADULT OR WOULD EVER CHOSE TO BE AN ADULT IN THE FUTURE. BUT REMEMBER IRAN IS IRAN IS IRAN IS IRAN AND THAT IS THAT.

    October 4, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Reply
  8. Trfgj Ddrhk

    IRAN COULD BE AN ADULT IF THEY CHOSE.

    October 4, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Reply
  9. John Smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    October 4, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Reply
    • antonio

      This Iran headache is a self-inflicted one for the USA – they should NEVER have overthrown Mossadegh in the first place, and been more accommodating of his concerns.

      November 8, 2013 at 10:04 pm | Reply
    • Realist

      To hell with Saudi! Go Iran!

      November 8, 2013 at 10:12 pm | Reply
  10. Tkdhj Sthuhj

    DOBLE THE SACTIONS FROM CURRENT LEVLE IS THE SOLUTION

    October 4, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Reply
  11. Swej Kcuf

    Lift sanctions off Iran. they are illegal.

    Hell with Israel. they are a paranoid bundh and they'll never be satisfied until all Ismaic countries are turned to dust. After Iran they" go for Pakistan. turkey...... evene as far off as Malaysia.

    hell with the damned Israelis.

    October 4, 2013 at 11:55 am | Reply
    • Manubrio

      Nothing illegal about the sanctions, go lie to halfwits that might believe you.

      October 4, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Reply
    • mullahproblems

      Illegal? No murdering your own people should be, but Iran does that with abandon.

      October 4, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Reply
    • goopy

      Hell with you dude. " they'll never be satisfied until all Ismaic countries are turned to dust" – you are a crazy brain-washed with obsession to the only democratic country in the middle east, where muslims, jews and others live peacefully together. Even the "poor" palestinians have much better life then their brothers in the rest of the the region (and when they will stop terror, their life will be even better..). Israel wants to live and have peace. Luckily, normal people understand that nuke bombs in Iran won't do good to anyone. Don't deceive yourself, it is a danger to all free world.

      October 4, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Reply
  12. DaffyDuckDynasty

    We need American Spring right here.

    Kick out all Israel paid (AIPAC paid) Us Senators Congressmen like McCain. Lindsey Graham, Diane Fienstein, Eric Cantor, Shumer..
    We need US politicians who put US first and not Israel.
    We are fed up now!

    October 4, 2013 at 11:30 am | Reply
    • goopy

      what do you mean kick? as an enemy to the democracy you should be sent to Iran where you will feel at home. Don't worry, when the "israeli problem" will be vanished the lunatic muslims will get you. One day you will wake up and understand that Israel is in the front line getting all the fire and that this is a global war between the free world and the Islam (who is already invade europe, who start to understand what Israel is facing..). money for Israel (its not so much) is the best invention the US have – even if you cannot understand it.

      October 4, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Reply
      • goopy

        and another thing: look at the "Arab spring".. a sane man won't wish it to is own country.

        October 4, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
      • StanCalif

        US money sent to Israel is completely misguided. Israel (Netanyahu) claims he can take care of himself. Okay, do it! When you decide to attack Iran (on your own, which you will never do), it will be your (Israel's) last war! Go get it over with!
        Thank God Obama never believed any of Netanyahu's BS! He is our only protector! Every member of Congress is madly in love with Israel, wonder why? Doesn't have anything to do with campaign donations, right? Ha, ha, ha!

        October 5, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • StanCalif

      Right! However election day is too far away, Americans have extremely short memories. Just follow the next ad on your media of choice! To rid DC of Israeli influence, we need to replace every member of Congress, EVERYONE! No one member of Congress will criticize Israel for any reason! fortunately, our President never bought into Netanyahu's BS!
      After replacing all of Congress, then the thousands of Israeli lobbyists need to be rounded up and deported. This will be much more difficult to accomplish!
      Israel is a cancer on the US, nothing more, nothing less!

      October 5, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Reply
  13. DAV

    Iran bill allows men to marry adopted daughters

    October 4, 2013 at 8:19 am | Reply
  14. ShiverMeTimbers

    America's real enemy is Israel not Iran.

    October 4, 2013 at 7:09 am | Reply
    • goopy

      America's biggest enemy is stupid, brained washed people like you

      October 4, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Reply
  15. KEVIN

    We'll see. The Ayatollah needs to involve himself in this process or no one is going to believe Iran.

    October 4, 2013 at 12:19 am | Reply
    • mullahproblems

      Exactly, when the Ayatollah who rules the country actually says he's ready to talk believe it. But he's too frightened of losing his grip on the people to do that I think.

      October 4, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Reply
  16. Gdghjhk Ddrhk

    'Can any one of you idiots here actually prove that Iran wants to build the atom bomb?' NO BUT IRAN CAN...HERE IS HOW: IRAN AGREES TO A DOUBLING OF SANCTIONS UNTIL THERE NUKE PROGRAM IS DISABLED...

    October 3, 2013 at 11:01 pm | Reply
  17. John McKane

    Can any one of you idiots here actually prove that Iran wants to build the atom bomb? The Iranians said that they didn't and I tend to put more credence in what they say that the right-wingers in Washington since they constantly lied to us time after time. The Iranians need to make a similar deal with the UN as South Africa did some years ago. Besides, Netanyahu has got Iranian Pres. Hasan Rouhani all wrong. These two need to get to know one another better!

    October 3, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Reply
    • peymaneh

      As one of the senators indicated "you are not dealing with Belgium or Luxembourg! you are dealing with Iranian mullahs who lie to their teeth" Just recently Rouhani said that Iranians have access to all international TV channels in Iran! Next day we are witnessing tanks running over the Satellite dishes confiscating from people's houses! Come on get real we are dealing with a country who supports international terrorism, assists Assad to genocide Syrians, and publicly hangs people! GET REAL!

      October 3, 2013 at 10:01 pm | Reply
      • Portland tony

        Speaking of International TV broadcasts, how many international channels does the average American watch or even have the capability to receive them?

        October 3, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
      • George Patton-2

        Come on peymaneh, who runs the ignoble C.I.A., the biggest terrorist organization ever devised in the annals of mankind when it comes to sponsoring international terrorism? Who created both the Iranian S.A.V.A.K. and the Chilean D.I.N.A.?

        October 4, 2013 at 12:31 am |
      • omid

        OMG your name shows you are Iranian and yet you try to fool Americans public? First Rouhani said he is Trying to make access to all International channels such as facebook, not that there is access right now he can't change everything in 1 month!
        Second, those satellite dishes were voluntary Given to police to be destroyed as an SHOW ACT!(they said they believe satellite has inappropriate and unethical things, well I don't agree but that is their choice.

        -about Israel: last news: Natanyahu asks ARABS to help Israel against Iran, just because Iran wants relation with USA, so how do you see it!

        October 4, 2013 at 8:11 am |
      • Who aer you?

        "Paymaneh"

        Are you even an Irani?

        This is the time all Iranians should come together and crush the hell out of Israel if they even dare to dream of attacking Iran but online I see people like "paymaneh" only badmouthing Iran.

        Maybe they are Israelis disguised as Iranis?

        October 4, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • mullahproblems

      Can you prove they're not? I mean they still have facilities (Arak for instance) that they haven't allowed any inspectors into. How can we know or understand what they're doing when they keep the impartial inspectors out?

      October 4, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Reply
    • goopy

      Iran is controlled by lunatic Islamic regimes who hang their opponents in the street, women are all covered-up and no freedom of speech. so they say they won't build atomic bomb...
      Yes, politicians are liars, but try to understand that this is a totally different thing when we are talking about crazy people that support suicide actions and glorify death.

      October 4, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Reply
  18. jewishlobby

    The jewish lobby will scare Americans to death and never let there be peace in middle east !

    October 3, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Reply
    • nowal mokhtari

      If it wasn't for the Israelis taking out the nuclear plant in Irak in 1981 it would have been impossible for the Americans to depose Saddam Hussein who murdered around 5000 Irakis each month that he was in power for about 30 years ! do you need a calculator? You should be happy and proud that the jewish lobby is totally commited about safeguarding the wellbeing of the USA !!!!!

      October 3, 2013 at 10:48 pm | Reply
      • Amir

        He murdered Iraq people why should US care ? Are they they international police ? Don't Americans have enough problems in their land ...

        October 4, 2013 at 2:27 am |
      • Milad

        Actually it was Iran who attacked Iraq's nuclear reactors first and israelis couldn't do anything if they didn't have the maps and pictures Iranians bravely took from that place.

        October 4, 2013 at 3:43 am |
      • ShiverMeTimbers

        With "friends" like Israel, we don't need any enemies. Remember the USS Liberty.

        October 4, 2013 at 7:10 am |
      • DaffyDuckDynasty

        Dont' pretend to be an Iranian! Your Israel and Israel-Firsters and AIPAC care only for Israel and Israel, no one else. Take our BS elsewhere.
        Sadaam never killed 5000/month. All lies from Jews like you! You liars provided fake WMD to IS and baby Bush jumped in .

        Go away and stay away from US, Israelis.

        October 4, 2013 at 11:38 am |
      • StanCalif

        Ha, ha, ha! Israel could care less for the well being of the USA. Israel is our cancer and we need to cure this problem!

        October 5, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
    • ShiverMeTimbers

      I ain't scared of the Jewish lobby or any of its terrorist subsidiaries.

      October 4, 2013 at 7:08 am | Reply
  19. FedUp

    Apparently the US is all about appearances and not the real flesh that lies beneath them. I feel sorry for the Iranian people, but Iran definitely wants a bomb.

    If Israel acts unilaterally, you can understand why.

    October 3, 2013 at 6:55 pm | Reply
    • ShiverMeTimbers

      Screw Israel, I do not believe in a master race.

      October 4, 2013 at 7:15 am | Reply
  20. acrabahyiouspe

    Bad idea. Very bad. Why not just drop all sanctions and tell them to go ahead and build the damned bomb?

    October 3, 2013 at 6:54 pm | Reply
  21. WTCseven

    911 WAS A TOTAL ISRAELI JOB

    October 3, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Reply
  22. WTCseven

    911 WAS DEFO AN ISRAELI JOB

    October 3, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Reply
  23. WTCseven

    911 WAS AN ISRAELI JOB

    October 3, 2013 at 6:42 pm | Reply
  24. Jason

    "holds out prospect"? Basically, it's a done deal. Sorry Israel, for this Administration stabbing you in the back.

    October 3, 2013 at 6:31 pm | Reply
    • ilan from ramat david

      Don't Worry, israel's solution to irans nuclear program will surprise even top brass israelis.
      its a done deal...just a matter of time really.

      October 3, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Reply
      • Random

        We know. That is why we are not fighting it much. Anyone who studies the subject and related intel knows Israel is the most accurate at providing a realistic look at where that situation sets and if it ever got passed where we would want to let it get they will act. This is something though on a matter of principle it is not something you can ignore. I dont think it is serious, Im sure not many consider it more then a last ditch effort which when it does not pull thru will justify what happens next. That is the thing with playing the ok we submit card... you only get one chance with it.

        October 3, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
      • DaffyDuckDynasty

        Yea', it will be a surprise for Israelis if you attack Iran.
        Coeard IDF ran away with tails between their legs when Hezbollahs kicked their ass in 2006. You mighty Merkawas were lit up like 4th July with puny IDF soldiers roasting in them.
        Try Iran and you'll see. Just don't come to US whimpering.

        Support for Israel is waning here.

        October 4, 2013 at 11:44 am |

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