US diplomats to argue against new Iran sanctions

US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman testifies on US policy towards Iran before the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee in Washington, DC, May 15, 2013Top US diplomats will this week make a “strong case” to lawmakers to hold off on fresh Iran sanctions, hoping to avoid an ugly political showdown which could scupper nuclear talks. Acting Deputy Secretary Wendy Sherman, who has led the tense, secretive negotiations for months, will be at the vanguard of an administration drive to persuade Congress not to push ahead with draft legislation which would slap even more punitive sanctions on Iran. Hawkish lawmakers are eager to pass new sanctions through Congress aiming to prod the Islamic republic into a lasting deal that prevents Iranian leaders from developing a nuclear weapon. Sherman will brief lawmakers behind closed doors on Thursday, a State Department spokeswoman said Tuesday, ahead of a flurry of consultations over the next two weeks.

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