“It is very important to refrain from taking an action that would potentially disrupt the opportunity for a diplomatic resolution,” said press secretary Jay Carney.
Carney said new sanctions could “undermine” careful negotiations between world powers and Iran over Tehran's nuclear program.
Secretary of State John Kerry brokered a deal which would see a temporary freeze on some economic sanctions in exchange for Iran halting parts of its nuclear program. Iran insists its nuclear work is for peaceful energy purposes, but the international community fears they are building weapons.
The initial deal between the P5+1 group, which is negotiating with Iran, and Tehran has faced opposition on Capitol Hill and abroad from key allies, including Saudi Arabia and Israel. Critics fear the deal does nothing to stop Iran’s nuclear program and would unravel the international sanctions regime.
The administration has urged lawmakers to not pass further sanctions on Iran.
On Thursday a bipartisan group of 26 senators though unveiled a bill which would pass new tough restrictions on Iran if it fails to honor the interim agreement or negotiate a broader diplomatic deal on its nuclear program.
Carney said the White House has been in “direct contact” with members of Congress and had made clear their opposition. But he added that he did not believe the bill would pass.
“We don’t think it will be enacted, we don’t think it should be enacted,” he said.
Carney said that if Iran failed to honor its commitments, “we’re very confident that we can work with Congress to very quickly pass new effective sanctions.”