76 senators sign letter demanding Obama take harder line against Iran

Seventy-six senators on Monday signed a letter demanding the Obama administration take a harder line to stop Iran’s nuclear program, including weighing possible military options. 

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"We believe our nation must toughen sanctions and reinforce the credibility of our option to use military force at the same time as we fully explore a diplomatic solution to our dispute with Iran," read the letter sent to the White House.

The letter is signed by conservative lawmakers including Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTexas Republicans slam White House over disaster relief request Dem rep: Trump disaster aid request is 'how you let America down again' Moore endorsements disappear from campaign website MORE (R-Texas), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioCongress faces growing health care crisis in Puerto Rico The Hill's 12:30 Report Colbert mocks Trump for sipping water during speech on Asia trip MORE (R-Fla.) and Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteExplaining Democratic victories: It’s gun violence, stupid Trump voter fraud panel member fights back against critics Dems plan to make gun control an issue in Nevada MORE (R-N.H.), as well as prominent Democrats including Sens. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerJuan Williams: The politics of impeachment Texas Republicans slam White House over disaster relief request Dem rep: Trump disaster aid request is 'how you let America down again' MORE (N.Y.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandDem: Ex-lawmaker tried to pin me to elevator door and kiss me In Washington and Hollywood, principle is sad matter of timing Mika Brzezinski: Bill Clinton needs to apologize or stop talking MORE (N.Y.) and Barbara MikulskiBarbara MikulskiClinton: White House slow-walking Russia sanctions Top Lobbyists 2017: Hired Guns Gore wishes Mikulski a happy birthday at 'Inconvenient Sequel' premiere MORE (Md.).

Lawmakers called on President Obama to "bring a renewed sense of urgency to the process.”

"Iran needs to understand that the time for diplomacy is nearing its end," they said. 

The letter comes as Hassan Rouhani was sworn in as Iran’s new president over the weekend. The White House on Sunday said the U.S. was willing to work with Iran, if the new leader engaged “substantively and seriously” on nuclear issues.

Congress, though, is working to enact tougher sanctions, with the House approving legislation last week to tighten controls against Iran's energy, shipping and insurance sectors.

Schumer last week said military action against Iran should never be taken off the table, but backed tightening sanctions as the preferred method to stop the country’s nuclear development.

“Ratcheting up the economic pressure against Iran is imperative,” he said last Wednesday on the Senate floor, “so that Iran sees it’s not in their best interests economically to continue on this path.”

The Pentagon has already drafted up plans for possible military action against Tehran, should the administration's strategy fail to stop Iran's nuclear program. 

However, Defense Department leaders continue to back the White House's approach of diplomatic and economic pressure to bring Tehran to heel. 

Iran’s regime insists its nuclear enrichment efforts are geared toward energy development, and not weaponization. 

Washington and its allies argue the Iranian program clearly puts the country on the path to developing nuclear arms.