Bipartisan House group 'highly concerned' about potential Iran deal, calls on Biden for answers
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A bipartisan group of 21 House members, including 11 Democrats, has many questions for President Biden about a potential new Iran nuclear deal, as reports of a possible agreement have them worried that it is not strong enough.
In a letter to Biden dated Thursday, the group, led by Reps. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., Elaine Luria, D-Va., and Tom Reed, R-N.Y., said they have been waiting for the Biden administration to enter into an agreement that was "stronger" than the original Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) reached by President Barack Obama, but that information being reported has them doubting whether this will happen.
"Among other issues, we are highly concerned about reports indicating the potential lifting of the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and of the sanctions placed on members of the office of the Supreme Leader," the letter said.
"Without adequately addressing Iran’s role as the world’s leading state-sponsor of terror – which was noticeably absent from the 2015 JCPOA – and simultaneously providing billions of dollars in sanctions relief, the United States would be providing a clear path for Iranian proxies to continue fueling terrorism," the letter continued.
The House members went on to say that "it is hard to envision supporting an agreement along the lines being publicly discussed," and that their "support is largely contingent on satisfactory answers" to a list of 16 questions they posed to Biden.
Those questions cover subjects including details regarding whether the U.S. will lift or lessen sanctions against Iran's supreme leader, the IRGC or Iran's Central Bank; how much money Iran would immediately receive upon the execution of a new deal; and what Iran's projected breakout time would be to develop a nuclear weapon at the time of the deal and at different points in the deal's future, through the year 2031.
The members of Congress also asked about what kind of role Russia would play, both in terms of any money the Kremlin might receive under the deal, and if they would be the ones to make a ruling if Iran claims the deal has been broken.
"In essence, will Vladimir Putin become the de facto judge of compliance with an agreement?" the letter asked, questioning whether Russia would be able to return enriched uranium should they determine the deal is broken.
Fox News reached out to the White House for comment on the letter, but they did not immediately respond.
Diplomats have been in Vienna discussing terms of a possible deal, but Thursday morning Iranian leader Ali Khamenei, did not appear enthusiastic.
"Proposals such as abandoning regional involvement or stopping development in nuclear sciences are harmful to our national power. Regional involvement gives us more strategic depth and national strength. Nuclear science development helps to meet the country's needs in the future," Khamenei tweeted.
Khamenei followed that message with another: "Giving in to the US or any major power in order to be immune from sanctions is a big mistake & a major blow to political strength. There's nothing more naïve & inept than the proposal to decrease the country’s defense strength so that the enemy won’t become sensitive."