Pivotal Senator Backs Out of Iran Sanctions Push

The Obama administration asks Congress not to interfere with nuclear talks

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Haraz N. Ghanbari / AP

Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D.

A key Senate Democrat has agreed to withhold his vote for further sanctions on Iran until the Obama administration’s nuclear talks run their course.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Senator Tim Johnson said that he agreed with Secretary of State John Kerry that additional sanctions could drive Iranians away from the negotiating table. Johnson helms the Senate Banking Committee, a pivotal position for introducing sanctions legislation.

Congressmen on both sides of the aisle have criticized the Obama administration’s handling of negotiations, arguing that a recent interim deal was too weak and a new round of sanctions was needed should a long-term fix fall through.