U.S. Senate looks for way forward on next Iran sanctions
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Tuesday Congress should pass a proposed package of new oil- and banking-related sanctions to keep up the pressure on Tehran to abandon its nuclear program.
Aides from Reid's office met on Tuesday with undisclosed "outside parties" to discuss the sanctions, his spokesman said, describing the meeting as "routine."
"Each day that goes by without Iran feeling more of our censorship, I think that's too bad for the world and helpful to Iran," Reid said. "We need to move forward on this as quickly as possible."
Last month, Reid had insisted that a package of penalties developed by the Senate Banking Committee should advance without amendments to speed its passage.
Several senators from both parties wanted the opportunity to make changes.
Republican Senator Mark Kirk has a package of amendments he wants to propose, including one that would ban insurers from covering shipments of Iranian oil to countries that fail to make "significant" cuts to their purchases from Tehran.
Ambiguous results from nuclear talks in Istanbul between Iran, the United States and five other world powers this past weekend further galvanized lawmakers' resolve to pursue new sanctions.
"My staff is meeting with interested parties to see if there's something that can be worked out," Reid told reporters on Tuesday, noting he still believed it was best to proceed without amendments "unless we can get agreement from basically everyone.
(Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)