House members want a say in Iran nuclear deal

The leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee are circulating a letter among their colleagues that stresses the need for congressional involvement if a deal is struck with Iran.

The two-page document — authored by panel Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and ranking member Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and intended for President Obama — states that should the administration reach an agreement with Tehran, “permanent sanctions relief from congressionally-mandated sanctions would require new legislation.”

{mosads}Lawmakers “must be convinced that its terms foreclose any pathway to a bomb, and only then will Congress be able to consider permanent sanctions relief.”

Resolving the “nuclear crisis with Iran remains of grave importance to our nation’s security. As the administration continues to negotiate with Iran, we are prepared to evaluate any agreement to determine its long-term impact on the United States and our allies,” the letter states.

The missive comes on the eve of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to a joint session of Congress. He is expected to lambaste the administration’s diplomatic efforts with Tehran over its nuclear program.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) invited the Israeli leader to detail his concerns in the address but did not notify the White House first, prompting many Democrats to announce they would boycott the speech.

The letter also follows a bipartisan group of senators introducing a bill that would give Congress a say on any nuclear deal the administration reaches with Iran. The president this weekend threatened to veto the proposed legislation.

In addition to emphasizing the role Capitol Hill should have on any final agreement, the unsent letter also provides members a chance to express alarm over the “grave and urgent issues” in ongoing nuclear talks.

It highlights concerns about the size of Iran’s illicit nuclear effort, Tehran’s lack of cooperation with the United Nations’s atomic watchdog and the need for a tough inspection regime.

It also calls out Iran for its “destabilizing role in the region,” saying Tehran is aligned with the Syrian regime, supports the terrorist group Hezbollah and backs militias that have created the security situation in Yemen. 

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