Iran deal progress dampens push for new U.S. sanctions bill

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani takes questions from journalists during a news conference in New YorkBy Patricia Zengerle and Timothy Gardner WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama is more likely to win his battle with the U.S. Congress to keep new sanctions on Iran at bay now that world powers and Tehran have made a new advance in talks to curb the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. Despite strong support for a bill in the Senate to slap new sanctions on the Islamic Republic, analysts, lawmakers and congressional aides said on Monday that the agreement to begin implementing a nuclear deal on January 20 makes it harder for sanctions supporters to attract more backers. Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, was one of several of the 59 co-sponsors who said there is no clamor for a vote any time soon. Sixteen of Obama’s fellow Democrats are among the co-sponsors of the measure requiring further cuts in Iran’s oil exports if Tehran backs away from the interim agreement, despite Iran warning that it would back away from the negotiating table if any new sanctions measure passed.

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