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Four-Fifths of House Members Urge Congressional Role in Iran Nuke Deal

Over 360 members of the House of Representatives, including majorities of both parties, signed a letter notifying the White House that Congress won’t enact permanent sanctions relief for Iran unless representatives are convinced that the terms of the nuclear deal being negotiated will “foreclose any pathway to a bomb.”

According to The Hill the letter, which was written by Rep. Eliot Engel (D – N.Y.), read, in part:

Should an agreement with Iran be reached, permanent sanctions relief from congressionally-mandated sanctions would require new legislation.

In reviewing such an agreement, Congress must be convinced that its terms foreclose any pathway to a bomb, and only then will Congress be able to consider permanent sanctions relief.

According to The Hill, Engel’s call is not for preemptive legislative action, but rather for Congress to vote on a deal after it is concluded. In remarks before a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing yesterday, Engel, the ranking member of the committee, explained the rationale behind the letter:

Make no mistake: Congress will play an important role in the evaluation of a final deal. Again, I want to say that I will not stand by and allow Congress to be marginalized. Any permanent repeal of sanctions is, by law, Congress’s discretion. And before we do that, we must be completely convinced that this deal blocks all of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear bomb.

The Associated Press reported yesterday that a leaked draft of the deal showed that the agreement being negotiated would leave Iran with most of its nuclear infrastructure intact.

[Photo: C-SPAN Screenshot ]