Senators vow to ‘act decisively’ against weak Iran nuke deal

Senators vow to ‘act decisively’ against weak Iran nuke deal
© Lauren Schneiderman

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSenate ethics panel resumes Menendez probe after judge declares mistrial Judge declares mistrial in Menendez bribery case Menendez jury deadlocked, ordered to keep trying MORE (D-N.J.) and Sen. Mark KirkMark KirkHigh stakes as Trump heads to Hill Five things to watch for at Trump-Senate GOP meeting Giffords, Scalise highlight party differences on guns MORE (R-Ill.) are warning the Obama administration that they will “act decisively” to toughen sanctions against Iran if they don't approve of any potential nuclear deal.

“As co-authors of bipartisan sanctions laws that compelled Iran to the negotiating table, we believe that a good deal will dismantle, not just stall, Iran’s illicit nuclear program and prevent Iran from ever becoming a threshold nuclear weapons state," they said in a statement on Wednesday.

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“If a potential deal does not achieve these goals, we will work with our colleagues in Congress to act decisively, as we have in the past,” they added.

The pair unveiled sanctions legislation earlier in the year, winning support from lawmakers in both parties. But Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) refused to allow a vote amid opposition from the White House, which warned the bill would derail nuclear talks with Iran.

Representatives from the P5+1 group — the United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, France and Germany — have until Nov. 24 to negotiate a deal with Iran that would curb the country’s nuclear arms program.

Any agreement is likely to face scrutiny on Capitol Hill, where many believe Iran is trying to stall international action while it continues its nuclear program.

Menendez and Kirk said a deal should require "stringent limits on nuclear-related research, development and procurement," and for Iran to come clean on all "possible military dimension issues."

Any agreement should also include a "robust inspection and verification regime for decades," to prevent Iran from covertly becoming a nuclear power. 

"Gradual sanctions relaxation would only occur if Iran strictly complied with all parts of the agreement," they said.