Reid: 'Let the Dust Settle for a Little While' Before New Measures Against Iran
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) insisted that the "dust" needs to "settle" before considering any new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.
Outside of a closed party policy luncheon, Reid was asked if he would continue to resist calls to bring a sanctions bill to the floor, such as the bipartisan Menendez-Kirk legislation.
"I think we should, on Iranian sanctions, let the dust settle. I think we should all feel good that an agreement was reached to move further," Reid replied.
"Now, I don't know if there's going to be a final agreement. I certainly hope so, but I don't know," he added. "But before we start talking about additional sanctions, let's just let the dust settle for a little while."
The deadline for reaching an agreement on Iran's nuclear program was July 20, but the Obama administration announced a four-month extension Friday night.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) indicated Sunday he wouldn't stop pushing for a sanctions bill that would trigger new punitive measures if talks fail.
"Well, look, I have always been a proponent of the type of sanctions that we had devised in the latest legislation which are prospective, which sends Iran a message that if, in fact, they do not reach an agreement, an agreement that we would think is a good deal, that there are consequences and the consequences would be set up," Menendez told Fox. "I believed those before and I believe in them now."
In March, 83 senators -- signaling a veto-proof majority if such a bill got a vote -- banded together to demand that President Obama meet core principles, including clear consequences, in any final nuclear agreement with Iran.
Reid, who at the request of the White House held up a sanctions vote he'd previously vowed to allow, was not among the signatories.
The "core principles" demanded by the senators include no right to enrichment, a complete dismantling of the nuclear weapons program, cessation of all activities at Fordow and Arak, full adherence to UN Security Council resolutions, and "a long-term and intrusive inspection and verification regime."
On the question of sanctions against Russia for its role in downing MH17, Reid said that's possible.
"But I think first of all we have to look at what happened. 298 dead people for no reason," Reid said. "That area clearly controlled by rebels supported overwhelmingly by Russia and Putin -- and we're going to see what the international community is willing to do to look at these people who were basically murdered."