More than three-quarters of members of the U.S. House of Representatives are demanding President Obama consult with Congress on any final nuclear agreement with the Iranian regime as the deadline for negotiations nears.
“Any permanent sanctions relief demands congressional approval,” 344 lawmakers from both sides of the aisle wrote in a letter sent to Obama on Thursday.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and the panel’s ranking member, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), gathered support for the letter. The letter was also signed by other top lawmakers including Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.), House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.).
The lawmakers expressed concern over the boundaries of sanctions relief, which appear to be murky. U.S. law, they said, doesn’t exclusively define the sanctions against Iran as “nuclear-related” and instead apply toward many other areas.
“Almost all sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear program are also related to Tehran’s advancing ballistic missile program, intensifying support for international terrorism, and other unconventional weapons programs,” reads the letter.
Therefore, the lawmakers suggested sanctions relief wouldn’t be immediate or direct.
“Iran’s permanent and verifiable termination of all of these activities — not just some — is a prerequisite for permanently lifting most congressionally-mandated sanctions. This often unnoted reality necessitates extensive engagement with Congress before offers of relief are made to Iran, and requires Congressional action if sanctions are to be permanently lifted,” they added.