White House: Iran Knows Consequences if It Reneges on Nuclear Agreement

Sanctions will be temporarily eased on Iran on Jan. 20, but the government there knows the consequences if it doesn’t scale back its nuclear ambitions, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Monday.

White House press secretary Jay Carney speaks during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

“Congress, we’re confident, could act very quickly in response to that and pass new sanctions at that time that could be implemented very quickly,” Carney said of the six month deal set to begin next week. “I don’t think Tehran doubts that. We’re very confident Tehran understands that failure to abide by its commitments in the implementation agreement and failure to reach a comprehensive resolution would result in action by the United States and by the international community.”

The U.S. and the European Union announced a deal with Iran over the weekend to ease economic sanctions if Iran stops further production of nuclear fuel that could be used for weapons. The sanctions policy will start next week with suspending a ban on Iran’s trad of petrochemicals, autos and precious metals, The Wall Street Journal reported.

In all, the U.S. and the EU are providing a $7 billion sanctions relief package, including $4.2 billion in oil revenue that has been frozen in offshore accounts. Iran will in turn stop producing nuclear weapons-grade fuel, and cap its production of lower-enriched uranium. Iran will further halt plans for plutonium production and agree to enhanced inspections by the international community.

Still, there is much skepticism to President Barack Obama’s diplomacy on both sides of the aisle as 16 Senate Democrats are among the 59 co-sponsors to a Senate bill to impose tougher economic sanctions on Iran now and not wait for six months.

The White House said that would harm the international framework.

“One of the reasons not to take action now here in the United States through Congress is that it could threaten to do harm to the international consensus that we have built,” Carney told reporters. “That international consensus is one of the foundations behind the comprehensiveness and effectiveness of the sanctions regime. The United States acting alone can only do so much. Working in consensus with the international community, we can have quite an impact.”