Lawmakers demand UN remove Iran from leadership of disarmament talks

The letter was spearheaded by Reps. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Mike Kelly (R-Penn.). It was also signed by the chairman and ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Reps. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.).

The State Department has said it will withdraw its ambassador to the talks if Iran chairs them. The department will still send junior officials to the talks, however, in hopes of getting a deal on a treaty banning the heavy enrichment of uranium and plutonium, which has been championed by President Obama as part of his multi-pronged disarmament strategy.

While the chairmanship is largely a symbolic role, the Disarmament Talks have in the past produced major international agreements, including treaties banning chemical and biological weapons and nuclear proliferation, as well as the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Talks have stalled on a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty because of opposition from Pakistan, however.

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