Senators skeptical of Kerry’s case against more sanctions

US Secretary of State John Kerry, supported by Vice President Joe Biden, was faced with bipartisan skepticism when he tried to persuade the Senate Banking Committee Wednesday that tighter sanctions would destroy the chances of a “historic” deal for Iran’s nuclear program. Democratic Senator Charles Schumer pronounced himself “dubious,” Sen. Robert Mendes, the Democratic chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said he would press forward with sanctions legislation. Republican Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) said Kerry’s briefing had been “disappointing” and Mark Kirk (R-IL) described it as “very unconvincing" and “fairly anti-Israeli.” The State Department called Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz’s estimate that even “modest” sanctions relief would put $40 bn in Iranian pockets “inaccurate, exaggerated, and not based in reality.”

Addressing the Knesset Wednesday, Binyamin Netanyahu said that continued economic pressure on Iran was the better path than two other options, a bad deal and war.

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