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Kerry: Patience needed for 'delicate' Iran talks

Secretary of State John Kerry gestures as he speaks at the opening dinner of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) Centennial Celebration at the National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington, Monday, Dec. 9, 2013.
Secretary of State John Kerry gestures as he speaks at the opening dinner of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) Centennial Celebration at the National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington, Monday, Dec. 9, 2013.
Carolyn Kaster, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State John Kerry says Congress must hold off on imposing new sanctions against Iran or risk endangering a "delicate" diplomatic effort to roll back Tehran's nuclear program.

Kerry says the U.S. promised no new economic penalties against Iran as part of a six-month interim deal to slow Iran's enrichment of uranium and other nuclear activity.

He tells the House Foreign Affairs Committee that U.S. officials need some time to work toward a final agreement that eliminates any possibility of Iran developing nuclear weapons.

Kerry says new sanctions now would risk hurting negotiations with Iran and breaking the unity of the United States and other world powers dealing with the crisis.