Skeptical House examines Iran nuke deal next week

Two subcommittees of the House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a joint hearing next week on the newly implemented Iran nuclear agreement, amid ongoing criticism that the deal is bad for the United States, and that sanctions against Iran should be reimposed and expanded.

The Middle East & North Africa and Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade subcommittees will meet Tuesday to hear from Mark Wallace, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) chairs the former subcommittee, and said the hearing would focus on how the deal is hurting U.S. interests, not helping them.

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"Next week, I will convene a subcommittee hearing to further examine how this agreement jeopardizes our national security, endangers the safety of our ally the democratic Jewish State of Israel, and does very little to prevent Iran from being nuclear capable," she said.

"Any agreement that fails to force Tehran to completely stop its uranium enrichment program, give up its ICBM program, allow access to its military sites, and dismantle its existing centrifuges is a bad deal."

The six-month agreement was implemented on Monday. Under the deal, Iran has said it would stop the enrichment of uranium up to 20 percent, while other countries have said they would lift billions of dollars of sanctions.

But Ros-Lehtinen said the deal gives Iran the economic breathing room it needs, and said the U.S. was able to put more pressure on Iran with the sanctions in place.

"Sanctions brought Tehran to the negotiating table, and we must continue to place and enforce strong sanctions until our ultimate objective is met and not reward this regime for its ongoing illicit activities," she said.

Her criticism of the deal was matched on Monday by that of her committee chairman, Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.).

"While the positive economic impact on Iran will go beyond this relief, as foreign investors are rushing in, our leverage over Iran shrinks," Royce said. "Meanwhile, Iran's nuclear program continues."