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Obama urges U.S. lawmakers against further sanctions on Iran

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama urged skeptical U.S. lawmakers on Thursday to hold off on imposing further sanctions on Iran, saying that if diplomacy fails to force Tehran to curb its nuclear program, any easing of punitive measures through negotiations could be "ramped back up."

"If we're serious about pursuing diplomacy, there's no need to add new sanctions on top of the sanctions that are already very effective," Obama told reporters.

Senior members of Congress have expressed distrust of a deal in the making between Iran and world powers that lawmakers - along with U.S. allies Israel and Saudi Arabia - believe would prematurely ease sanctions on Iran. They instead want to tighten sanctions to pressure Tehran.

(Reporting by Matt Spetalnick, Steve Holland and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Eric Beech)