A veto-proof, bipartisan majority of House lawmakers have signed an open letter to President Barack Obama warning him that any nuclear deal with Iran will effectively require congressional approval for implementation.
A group of bipartisan senators have penned a bill mandating that any deal be reviewed and approved by Congress, but the House letter notes that lawmakers have another way to halt an agreement — by refusing to roll back sanctions.
“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,” they write.
The letter, which was signed by 367 members of the House and released Monday by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, follows a similar one, issued to Iran’s leaders and signed by 47 Republican senators, warning that any deal with Iran could be rolled back by a future president.
That letter sparked fierce criticism from Democrats, who said it was inappropriate meddling in delicate diplomatic talks and meant to undermine negotiations, and even some Republicans expressed reservations over the tactic.
The House letter lays out lawmakers’ concerns in more diplomatic terms, hitting on the potential time restraints as a key sticking point for a final deal. The emerging deal would lift some restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in a decade, which critics say could allow the country to resume its pursuit of a nuclear bomb at that point.
“A final comprehensive nuclear agreement must constrain Iran’s nuclear infrastructure so that Iran has no pathway to a bomb, and that agreement must be long-lasting,” the lawmakers write.
“Any inspection and verification regime must allow for short notice access to suspect locations, and verifiable constraints on Iran’s nuclear program must last for decades.”