House Democrats express concern about ongoing negotiations with Iran

 

At a hearing today at the House Foreign Affairs Committee with Secretary of State John Kerry, Democratic members of the House raised concerns with regards to current negotiations with Iran. Ranking Member Congressman Eliot Engel (D- N.Y.) said that “we’re hearing troubling reports on the scale and duration of the program that Iran may be allowed as part of a deal.” He referred to recent reports that the U.S. would allow Iran to ramp up its nuclear activities towards the end of an agreement as “very disturbing,” and said that the “longest amount of time preventing Iran from gearing up to have a nuclear weapon is preferable.” Engel insisted on making sure “that any deal we sign is a good deal.”

Members also voiced concern about the number of centrifuges the P5+1 have reportedly been willing to accept as well as skepticism regarding Iran’s willingness to adhere to its international commitments. Ranking Member of the Middle East and North Africa Committee Congressman Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) referred to numerous UN Security Council resolutions that demand that Iran suspend enrichment and explained that the “frustration” about a deal that would “include as many as six or seven thousand centrifuges is trying to understand why Iran would need that many… There is just some concern on how we’ve gotten to this point.” Deutch also pointed out that Iran has refused to provide the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with information about the potential military dimensions of their nuclear program. Regarding a potential final agreement with Iran, he asked, “How can we be assured that Iran will comply with it if they’re not willing to come clean on what they’ve done in the past?”

Finally, both Congressmen Deutch and Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) asked Secretary Kerry if he would commit to demanding intrusive inspections as part of any final deal. Congressman Deutch asked Kerry if he could “confirm that any deal can only be agreed upon if it provides for anytime, anywhere inspections.” Congressman Sherman asked if the Obama administration would “accept an agreement in which the IAEA does not have the right to go anywhere on short notice to look at…undeclared nuclear sites.”

 


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