Fearing a dangerous deal with Iran, Congress is pushing for oversight on any agreement that Obama may sign with the Islamic Republic.
In a show of unity, 367 members from both sides of the aisle authored a letter to President Barack Obama, delineating the terms under which they would accept an agreement with Iran regarding its nuclear program.
The bipartisan letter, which was sent to Obama on Thursday, reminded the administration that the relief of sanctions on Iran would require new legislation from Congress.
“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 communication said.
The letter stipulates that any deal must ensure that Iran cannot develop a nuclear bomb. It stresses the importance of the transparency of Iran’s nuclear program.
“Resolving the nuclear crisis with Iran remains of grave importance to our nation’s security. As the Administration continues to negotiate with Iran, we are prepared to evaluate any agreement to determine its long-term impact on the United States and our allies. We remain hopeful that a diplomatic solution preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon may yet be reached, and we want to work with you to assure such a result,” the letter clarifies.
Congress Wants a Say on Iran Deal
Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY), who is leading this initiative with Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), said he would wait until a deal is finalized before backing further congressional action on Iran, but he warned the administration not to bypass Congress.
“There really cannot be any marginalization of Congress. Congress really needs to play a very active and vital role in this whole process, and any attempts to sidestep Congress will be resisted,” Engel said Thursday morning at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.
“We would hope that we could get a prompt response from the White House. It’s truly a very bipartisan letter expressing Congress’ strong feelings about things that need to be in the agreement,” he said.
The letter, signed by a majority of Republicans and Democrats in the House, comes after Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark) and 46 other Republicans co-signed and sent an open letter to the Iranian regime clarifying that any deal signed by the Obama administration regarding Iran’s nuclear program would be worthless as soon as the president leaves the Oval Office.
Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that he will move forward next week on the Senate bill, which he co-authored with Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), stipulating that any deal that the Six World Powers make with Iran would require congressional review and approval.
Obama has threatened to veto any such legislation, and Congress is looking for ways to ensure oversight.