Royce: Congress 'stunned' by Iran deal

Lawmakers are “stunned” by President Obama's nuclear deal with Iran, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said at a hearing Tuesday on the agreement's implementation.

Members of both parties used the hearing to attack the preliminary deal with Iran that went into effect last week, particularly its provisions allowing Iran to continue low-level uranium enrichment. They also urged the Senate to break with the White House and pass new sanctions that would set in if Iran doesn't agree to a final deal within six months.

“I think all of us are a little stunned,” Royce said. “I think we're stunned that not only does Iran continue to enrich uranium, but they're very, very vocal about the fact that they're going to continue the research and development of faster and faster spinning centrifuges.”

The chairwoman of the Middle East panel, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), called the agreement a “bad deal” because it doesn't dismantle the country's nuclear program, although it freezes its most advanced aspects. And Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), the top Democrat on her panel, said Iran has no real need for its nuclear program.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) said the Obama administration appears to want Congress to adopt a “narcolepsy approach” with regard to sanctions: Go to sleep until the White House wakes it up. Instead, he suggested Congress should have sanctions ready to go when the interim deal expires in six months — a proposal Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations panel, floated earlier this month.

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