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Obama Warns Congress Against Iran Sanctions

U.S. President Barack Obama is urging Congress not to move forward with proposed new sanctions against Iran while negotiations on its controversial nuclear program are ongoing.

Obama said at a White House news conference on November 14 that negotiations are the best way to ensure that Tehran does not acquire a nuclear weapon.

He said that if Iran fails to deliver on its promises, the sanctions "can be ramped back up."

The Obama administration has been pushing for more time to negotiate a deal with Iran that would prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.

Senior members of Congress -- along with U.S. ally Israel -- believe the proposed deal would prematurely ease sanctions, calling instead for tightening sanctions to pressure Tehran.

A new round of nuclear talks between Iran and world powers is due next week.

Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says Iran has not expanded its nuclear facilities in the last three months.

The IAEA, in a report released on November 14, said only a handful of additional centrifuges for enriching uranium were installed at the Natanz enrichment plant.

No new ones were installed at the Fordo facility.

The report also said that "no major components" had been installed at a plutonium-producing reactor under construction at Arak.

The quarterly report was the first since Iranian President Hassan Rohani took office in August.

Iran denies Western accusations it is seeking to make nuclear weapons.

Rohani has promised to settle the dispute over Iran's nuclear program and secure an easing of sanctions.
Based on reporting by AFP, dpa, and Reuters