Tags: Iran | kerry | lew | testify | iran | deal

Kerry, Lew to Testify in Skeptic Senate on Iran Deal

Image: Kerry, Lew to Testify in Skeptic Senate on Iran Deal
Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images; Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch)

Thursday, 16 Jul 2015 11:50 AM

U.S. congressional review of the deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program will begin next week with testimony before a key Senate panel by Cabinet secretaries John Kerry, Ernest Moniz and Jacob Lew.

On July 23, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will question Secretary of State Kerry and Energy Secretary Lew, who were across the negotiating table from their Iranian counterparts, and Treasury Secretary Lew, whose department administers economic sanctions that would be eased as part of the deal.

The committee’s chairman, Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, said after the accord between Iran and six world powers was announced Tuesday that he began “from a place of deep skepticism that the deal actually meets the goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

Many Republican lawmakers already have denounced the accord as inadequate, and a number of Democrats have said they’re skeptical as well. Still, members would have to muster two- thirds votes in both chambers to reject the deal over President Barack Obama’s veto.

Obama received a boost in assembling support for the agreement on Thursday, when House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi gave it a full endorsement.

“I’ve closely examined this document, and it will have my strong support,” Pelosi told reporters at the Capitol.

Corker, who engineered legislation giving Congress a 60-day review of the deal, has promised to serve as an “honest broker.” Other Republicans on the committee, including two presidential candidates, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, have been outspoken in opposing it.

‘Bipartisan Concern’

Representative Ed Royce, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement that the agreement has drawn “serious bipartisan concern” and that his panel was “eager to hear Secretary Kerry explain to us the details,” although a date for his testimony hasn’t been set.

Senator Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat who serves on the Senate intelligence committee, said Thursday that he was frustrated that some of his colleagues seem to be taking a stand on the Iran agreement without thoroughly vetting it.

“I am disappointed at members of the Senate from either side either rushing to its defense or rushing to criticize before we flesh out the details,” Warner said at a breakfast with Bloomberg editors and reporters on Thursday.

He urged lawmakers to delay their decisions until people have had a chance to “make their case on either side who have read, reviewed and have opinions.”

Obama’s Campaign

Obama is mounting an aggressive campaign to sell the accord. He said at a news conference Wednesday, “There really are only two alternatives here: either the issue of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is resolved diplomatically, through a negotiation, or it’s resolved through force, through war.”

House Speaker John Boehner responded in a statement that “there’s little reason for Americans to believe this nuclear deal will do anything to stop Iran’s drive for a bomb, or stop its efforts to promote terror and violence throughout the Middle East.”

Kerry began an effort to sell the accord to Shiite Iran’s Sunni Gulf rivals, meeting at the State Department on Thursday morning with Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir. Later in the day, Kerry was to discuss the agreement with the foreign diplomatic corps in Washington.


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U.S. congressional review of the deal to curb Iran's nuclear program will begin next week with testimony before a key Senate panel by Cabinet secretaries John Kerry, Ernest Moniz and Jacob Lew.On July 23, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will question Secretary of...
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2015-50-16
Thursday, 16 Jul 2015 11:50 AM
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