Tags: congress | obama | nuke deal | iran

Congress Cautions Obama on Iran Nuke Deal

By    |   Wednesday, 25 March 2015 07:01 AM

An agreement with Iran that does not "foreclose any pathway to a bomb" will run into stiff bipartisan opposition in Congress, according to The Hill.

The Obama administration-led P5+1 talks being conducted in Lausanne, Switzerland, aim to achieve broad agreement on a technical framework for Iran's nuclear program by Tuesday.

Some 367 out of 435 House members signed a letter to President Barack Obama advising the administration: "Should an agreement with Iran be reached, permanent sanctions relief from congressionally mandated sanctions would require new legislation. In reviewing such an agreement, Congress must be convinced that its terms foreclose any pathway to a bomb, and only then will Congress be able to consider permanent sanctions relief."

The letter was organized Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and ranking member Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, the Hill reported.

It was endorsed by 129 Democrats.

Among Democrats who did not sign on were House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi. Also not signing was Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., who said the tone of the letter mirrored the stance of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was intended to derail any deal, and was basically pro-war, according to the Hill.

McDermott's positions on Israel frequently mirror those of J-Street, the dovish Jewish group that lobbies against Israeli government policies on Capitol Hill. Another J-Street endorsed non-signatory, Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said the goal was to prevent "Iran from getting a nuclear weapon without going to war."

Both Royce and Engel have received support from mainstream pro-Israel PACS.

Opposition to the administration's Iran policy in the Senate is led by the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Robert Menendez.

In an exceptional step, Senate Republicans on March 9 sent Iran an open letter cautioning Iranian leaders that in the U.S. constitutional system Congress has the final word in any agreement signed between the two countries.

During a hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday, Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., told Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken that he was "misleading" the committee by implying that in any potential deal international monitors would have access to Iran's nuclear program, according to the Hill.

Iran reiterated Tuesday that it will permit no snap inspections of its nuclear facilities, The Associated Press reported on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has warned that a bad deal on Iran's nuclear program might set off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

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An agreement with Iran that does not foreclose any pathway to a bomb will run into stiff bipartisan opposition in Congress, according to The Hill.
congress, obama, nuke deal, iran
Wednesday, 25 March 2015 07:01 AM
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