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367 House members warn Obama on Iran
A letter to President Obama signed by 367 members of Congress warns that lawmakers must be satisfied that any Iranian nuclear agreement must "foreclose any pathway to a bomb" before they lift sanctions against Tehran.
The letter, which was drafted in early March but released on Monday, warns Obama that "permanent sanctions relief from congressionally-mandated sanctions would require new legislation" from Congress.
"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," reads the letter, led by Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and ranking member Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.).
U.S. and international negotiators are up against a March 31 deadline for a framework agreement with Iran to roll back its nuclear program.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and 46 other senators sent a letter to Iran on March 9 warning it that Congress needed to have a role in approving any deal. White House officials blasted that letter, and have threatened to veto any legislation that comes before the talks are set to conclude on June 30.
Senators, however, appear poised to pounce on legislation after they return from recess, which runs between March 30 and April 10.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) announced on Friday he would schedule a committee vote April 14 on a bill that would allow Congress 60 days to review any deal before its implementation.
Although the House letter does not mention specific legislation, it said, "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," it said.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) indicated Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation" that the House would also pursue similar legislation as the Senate.
"As the House, you have some responsibility," he said.