| WASHINGTON, April 16
WASHINGTON, April 16 U.S. lawmakers on Monday
pushed for more sanctions against Iran after talks between
Tehran and global powers failed to stop Iran from developing its
Although the talks between Iran, the United States and five
other world powers were described as "constructive" by the
European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, some
U.S. lawmakers said they were unimpressed.
"The United States should not mistake positive diplomatic
dialogue for compliance with United Nations Security Council
resolutions," said a spokesman for Republican Senator Mark Kirk.
Kirk and several other U.S. legislators have been pressuring
the White House to get tougher o n Iran and are pushing for a
range of additional penalties that would further isolate Iran
and prevent it from trading with the rest of the world.
President Barack Obama warned on Sunday there would be more
sanctions imposed on Iran if there was no breakthrough in talks
in coming months.
Iran's foreign minister said Tehran was ready to resolve
nuclear issues if the West starts lifting sanctions.
U.S. sanctions that Obama signed into law in December have
already forced some of Iran's biggest trading partners, such as
Japan, to reduce their Iranian oil imports.
Other countries are scrambling to cut purchases of Iranian
crude before a mid-year deadline. If they fail to do so, those
countries could see their banks blocked from U.S. markets.
"We have five weeks to convince the Iranians that the
sanctions we passed in December were only a first step," said
Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, who along with Kirk helped
design the sanctions that were signed into law in December.
Iran and the group of world powers, which comprises the five
permanent members of the U.N. Security Council - the United
States, Russia, China, France and Britain - plus Germany, have
agreed to reconvene talks in Baghdad May 23.
Ashton, who leads the negotiations for the six global
powers, has said she expects subsequent meetings would lead to
concrete steps "towards a comprehensive negotiated solution
which restores international confidence in the exclusively
peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program."
Many Republican and Democratic Senators support legislation
that would force United States to target Iran's main oil and
shipping companies and require publicly traded companies to
disclose their Iran-related activities.
But the legislation stalled when Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid refused to allow lawmakers to consider adding further
penalties to the bill.
A spokesman for Reid said he had not decided whether to
bring the bill to the Senate floor during the current session.
Reid has chastised Republicans for blocking the bill although
there has been bipartisan support for further measures.
Menendez said it was crucial that Congress pass the
legislation quickly to send a message to the Iranian g overnment
th at the United States "won't allow them to use the Baghdad
talks to stall for more time to advance their covert nuclear