|U.S. President Barack Obama (C) waves after delivering the State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress as Vice President Joe Biden (L) and U.S. House Speaker John Boehner applaud on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., capital of the United States, Jan. 28, 2014. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)
WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama reiterated Tuesday that he would veto any new sanctions bill against Iran as world powers are in talks with Tehran to reach a comprehensive deal on its nuclear programs.
"If this Congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks, I will veto it," Obama said in his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress.
Obama called on lawmakers to "give diplomacy a chance to succeed," saying that it is diplomacy, backed by pressure, that has halted the progress of Iran's nuclear program and rolled parts of it back for the first time in a decade.
The P5+1 countries, namely the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany, reached with Iran a landmark interim deal in November that limits Tehran's nuclear activities in return for eased sanctions by the world powers. The two sides began to implement the deal on Jan. 20.
"As we gather here tonight, Iran has begun to eliminate its stockpile of higher levels of enriched uranium. Unprecedented inspections help the world verify, every day, that Iran is not building a bomb," Obama said.
Iran and the P5+1 countries have agreed to resume nuclear negotiations in New York in February, aimed at reaching a final agreement in six months.
If Iran's leaders do not seize the opportunity of negotiations, Obama said, he will be the first to call for more sanctions and stand ready to "exercise all options" to make sure Iran does not build a nuclear weapon.
The U.S. president also admitted that the talks will be "difficult" and "may not succeed", as the mistrust between the U.S. and Iran "cannot be wished away".
Any long-term deal on Iran's nuclear program must be based on verifiable action that convinces the U.S. and the international community that Iran is not building a nuclear bomb, Obama said.
"If John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan could negotiate with the Soviet Union, then surely a strong and confident America can negotiate with less powerful adversaries today," he added.
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