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Washington (AFP) – President Barack Obama will personally urge powerful senators Tuesday to hold off on imposing more sanctions on Iran, to allow high stakes nuclear talks to succeed.

Obama will meet leading members of key Senate committees on the eve of the next round of talks between world powers and Iran in Geneva aimed at clinching an interim deal to boost diplomacy on ending a nuclear showdown.

The talks come as hawks on Capitol Hill in both parties mull slapping extra sanctions on Iran, reasoning that painful economic punishments prompted Tehran to negotiate and extra pain could prod it to capitulate.

But the White House fears that more sanctions will undermine Tehran’s negotiating team in Geneva and bolster the case of hardliners in the Islamic republic who believe Washington is not serious about offering concessions for Iran to halt its nuclear program.

“It’s the president’s view that it’s the right thing to do for Congress to pause so that we can test whether or not the Iranians are serious about resolving this issue diplomatically,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Obama will meet the Democratic chairmen and the top Republican members of the Senate committees on Banking, Foreign Relations, Armed Services, and Intelligence, Carney said.

The meeting will take place a day before Iran and the P5+1 group of nations begin a new round of talks at Geneva on Wednesday, after failing to clinch a deal in high-level, marathon negotiations earlier this month.

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