The ongoing talks between the United States and Iran over the hostile nation’s nuclear energy program have been unpopular with Republicans in Congress, who worry that Iran will violate any deal like they have done in the past.
But now, Democrats are becoming skeptical too.
While a final agreement is scheduled for the end of March, members of Congress have been more vocal recently on whether or not they could support legislation that would remove the tough sanctions currently placed on Iran, which has severely drained their economy.
Moreover, the New York Times reports that Iran negotiators have “resisted any kind of formal ‘framework’ agreement at this stage in the negotiations, preferring a more general statement of ‘understanding’ followed by a final accord in June.” With Iran’s past history of breaking international law, members of Congress are having their doubts on how much the United States is conceding to the hostile terror nation.
On Friday (Mar. 20), 367 members in the 435-member U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to President Barack Obama advocating for a deal that must “foreclose any pathway to a bomb” before members will vote on new legislation removing Iran’s sanctions. It follows a similar letter signed by 47 Senate Republicans earlier this month that was sent to Iran’s leaders, warning that any deal negotiated with the Obama administration could be removed when a new president is elected next year.
The leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-New York) and Ed Royce (R-California), wrote, “Should an agreement with Iran be reached, permanent sanctions relief from congressionally-mandated sanctions would require new legislation.”
A total of 129 Democrats signed on to the new letter, showcasing what could be a tough battle for President Obama when it comes time for Congress to sign a bill removing Iran’s sanctions.
The White House commented on this show of bipartisanship earlier this week.
“We would anticipate that Congress would play its rightful role in considering, after Iran has demonstrated sustained compliance with the agreement, a measure that would, down the line, as they described, offer permanent sanctions relief from congressionally mandated sanctions,” said Press Secretary Josh Earnest.
However, other members of Congress felt differently about interfering in the current talks before they were completed.
“The notion that we ought to weigh in on an agreement before there’s an agreement doesn’t make sense to me. Let’s see what the negotiators can negotiate,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts). "If it's a good deal, we should support it; if it's a bad deal, then we can express our concerns then."
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons