Hayden on Iran: ‘I like the threat of additional sanctions’

January 19, 2014
Former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden. (Photo: Jeffrey MacMillan ). Former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden. (Photo: Jeffrey MacMillan ).

Former spy chief Michael Hayden said Sunday that a congressional proposal to impose new sanctions against Iran could work to the Obama administration's advantage in its negotiations with the Islamic Republic.

"I think having that congressional action just off-stage, just in the wings, might actually be a powerful negotiating tool," Hayden said on "Fox News Sunday." He later added: "I like the threat of additional sanctions hanging out there."

A six-month interim deal agreed to last year goes into effect on Monday, limiting Iran's nuclear program in exchange for some easing of previous sanctions. The House in July overwhelmingly approved legislation to impose new sanctions, but the Senate has not taken action on the measure. President Obama opposes it.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), who has voted for Iran sanctions in the past, said Congress should not interfere with the administration's efforts.  

"I think if we do that, we screw up the ability to have real negotiations," Leahy said. "If the negotiations fail, if Iran is seen cheating, we will impose more sanctions in a nanosecond -- both the House and the Senate."

Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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