Senate GOP accuses Kerry of trying to 'placate' Iran

Senate GOP accuses Kerry of trying to 'placate' Iran
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Senate Republicans are targeting Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryFeehery: Oprah Dem presidential bid unlikely Dem hopefuls flock to Iowa Change in Iran will only come from its people — not the United States MORE for suggesting that the administration could waive visa restrictions for Iran over concerns about the nuclear deal.

Thirteen senators sent a letter to Kerry saying they are "gravely concerned" about a letter he sent to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif suggesting that the limits included in an end-of-the-year spending bill on people who travel to Iran or have dual citizenship with a Visa Waiver Program country could be lifted. 
 
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"As you continue to engage with Mr. Zarif, we urge — rather than seeking to placate the complaints of Iran, the world's biggest state sponsor of terrorism — you to press him and his government to cease its support for terrorism and provide tangible evidence that it is doing so," they wrote in the letter, which was sent Wednesday. 
 
As part of the omnibus spending bill passed last month, individuals who have visited or hold dual citizenship with Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Syria are not eligible for the visa waiver program, and would need to get a visa in order to travel to the United States. 
 
Kerry sent a widely publicized letter to Zarif, suggesting that the new restrictions wouldn't impede the nuclear deal amid suggestions from Tehran that they would constitute a violation of the agreement. 
 
The move has earned him flack from Republican lawmakers who argue the administration hasn't been firm enough with Iran since the nuclear deal was reached last year. 
 
The Republican senators added in their letter that Kerry should "clarify" for his Iranian counterpart that Congress didn't draft the visa provisions "with Iranian interests but U.S. national security interests."
 
The letter is the latest in a string of flareups between the administration and Congress since the Iran nuclear deal. 
 
Republicans panned Obama's State of the Union speech for not mentioning U.S. sailors that were being held by Iran after their vessels traveled into Iranian waters 
 
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have also been critical of the administration's perceived reluctance to issue new sanctions for a pair of ballistic missile tests. 
 
The letter to Kerry was spearheaded by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). Republican Sens. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), John Boozman (Ark.), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Tom Cotton (Ark.), Steve Daines (Mont.), Cory Gardner (Colo.), James Inhofe (Okla.), Johnny Isakson (Ga.), Mike Rounds (S.D.), Dan Sullivan (Alaska), Thom Tillis (N.C.) and Orrin Hatch (Utah) also signed the letter.