The White House has reiterated its opposition to further sanctions on Iran, daring the U.S. senators pushing for those sanctions to admit they are looking for outright war.

National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said in a statement: “If certain members of Congress want the United States to take military action, they should be upfront with the American public and say so. Otherwise, it’s not clear why any member of Congress would support a bill that possibly closes the door on diplomacy and makes it more likely that the United States will have to choose between military options or allowing Iran’s nuclear program to proceed."

Bob Menendez, the Foreign Relations Committee Chairman supported by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is pushing for a bill to implement tougher sanctions on Iran, even though the administration is engaged in diplomatic talks to resolve the disputes over Iran’s nuclear activities.

The National Security Statement warns: “This bill is in direct contradiction to the Administration’s work to peacefully resolve the international community’s concerns with Iran’s nuclear program. We know that this proposed legislation would divide the international community, drive the Iranians to take a harder line, and possibly end negotiations.”

The statement also warns of possible divisions between the U.S. and allies that have supported the sanctions regime so far.

“If Congress passes this bill, it will be proactively taking an action that will make diplomacy less likely to succeed,” Meehan states.

The 5+1 and Iran reached a preliminary agreement in November to implement a series of actions in the next six months as a prelude to a final deal. The world powers have committed to halting the imposition of any further sanctions on Iran as part of that deal.