Lawmakers demand tougher Iran deal

Lawmakers in both the House and Senate sent the Obama administration bipartisan letters Tuesday urging him to beef up a proposed deal with Iran when negotiators meet again in Geneva on Wednesday.

The lawmakers object to a proposal that would loosen sanctions in exchange for Iran freezing the most advanced aspects of its program. Iran rejected the proposal earlier this month after France sought to strengthen it, but Secretary of State John Kerry said negotiators remain “extremely close” to a deal.

“We feel strongly that any easing of sanctions along the lines that [the international community] is reportedly considering should require Iran to roll back its nuclear program more significantly than now envisioned,” six senators wrote in a letter to Kerry.

“It is our belief that any interim agreement with the Iranians should bring us closer to our ultimate goal which is Iran without a nuclear weapons capability.”

The letter in particular urges U.S. negotiators to demand that Iran suspend all uranium reprocessing, heavy-water-related and enrichment-related activities and halt ongoing construction of any uranium-enrichment, reprocessing or heavy-water-related facilities. It was signed by Sens. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump is right: The visa lotto has got to go Schumer predicts bipartisan support for passing DACA fix this year No room for amnesty in our government spending bill MORE (D-N.Y.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCNN to air sexual harassment Town Hall featuring Gretchen Carlson, Anita Hill Trump wrestles with handling American enemy combatants Flake: Trump's call for DOJ to probe Democrats 'not normal' MORE (R-S.C.), Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezIn judge's 2010 Senate trial, Menendez was guilty of hypocrisy Excused Menendez juror: 'I don't think he did anything wrong' We don't need a terrorist attack to know diversity program has to go MORE (D-N.J.), John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP rushes to cut ties to Moore GOP strategist: 'There needs to be a repudiation' of Roy Moore by Republicans World leaders reach agreement on trade deal without United States: report MORE (R-Ariz.), Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsBipartisan group of lawmakers aim to reform US sugar program A bipartisan bridge opens between the House and Senate Gaming the odds of any GOP tax bill getting signed into law MORE (R-Maine).

On the House side, Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed RoyceEdward (Ed) Randall RoyceLawmakers introduce measure condemning Turkish violence in DC GOP chairman warns of 'creeping authoritarianism' in Turkey GOP rep calls for management overhaul at TSA MORE (R-Calif.) and ranking member Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelHouse passes bill to revoke passports of terror suspects North Korean defector to Congress: Invest more in information campaigns to stop Pyongyang Bipartisan lawmakers push Tillerson to relist North Korea as state terror sponsor MORE (D-N.Y.) sent President Obama a similar letter.

The top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs panel joined his Republican colleague Tuesday in expressing their “great concern” about the Obama administration's negotiations with Iran.

Engel and Royce said the “scope and content” of a proposal to loosen sanctions in exchange for Iran freezing the most advanced aspects of its program caused them great concern. The lawmakers told The Hill last week that they were planning a bipartisan push to get Obama to toughen his position.

“We are writing to express our great concern regarding the scope and content of the interim agreement under negotiation with Iran,” they wrote. “Mr. President, the United States cannot allow Iran to continue to advance toward a nuclear weapons capability while at the same time providing relief from the sanctions pressure we worked so hard to build, and the Administration has worked to enforce.”

The letters come the same day Obama met with top senators to urge them to postpone new sanctions. Israel and its allies are pressuring the Senate to quickly pass legislation mirroring sanctions on Iran's energy sector that sailed through the House 400-20 in July.

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