Obama official says Congress should freeze its Iran penalties

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WASHINGTON — A Treasury official says that if a nuclear deal is struck with Iran, lawmakers should leave congressionally-imposed sanctions in place for years.

Adam Szubin tells the House Foreign Affairs Committee that sanctions like those levied on Tehran by the U.S. executive branch or the United Nations could be gradually lifted. But he says keeping powerful congressional sanctions in place for years to come would allow the U.S. to retain leverage over Iran.

Committee Chairman Ed Royce, a California Republican, voiced skepticism at this suggestion at a hearing Thursday. He said that strategy sounds like a way just to keep Congress out of the process.

Lawmakers are pushing to impose new penalties on Iran, which the administration argues would scuttle talks that are in a very delicate stage.

DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press

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