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The meeting came a day after President Obama pled with chairmen and ranking members from the intelligence, defense, and banking committees to hold off on new sanctions while negotiations continued.

"The Vice President underscored that the relief we would provide Iran as part of the first step would be modest and temporary compared to the substantial, continuing impact of our sanctions, which would be vigorously enforced throughout the first step," the White House said in a statement.

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The two-hour meeting included members of the vice president's national security team and some of the upper chamber's most dovish members.

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During a panel hosted by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, Obama said he had told lawmakers and Israel that it was important to test whether a diplomatic solution was possible.

"Let's test the proposition over the next six months we can resolve this in a diplomatic fashion while maintaining the essential sanctions architecture," Obama said.

The president said that under the proposed short-term deal, the Iranians would halt their nuclear weapons program, roll back certain elements, and subject themselves to "vigorous inspections."

Obama said, the U.S. was offering a "very modest amount of relief that is entirely subject to reinstatement if in fact they violated any part of this earlier agreement."