House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member of the Committee Rep. Elliot Engel (D-NY) distributed an undated, bipartisan letter they intend to send to President Barack Obama as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s addresses a joint session of Congress. The letter underscores the widely-held belief that Iran cannot be trusted, particularly when taking into accounting the secretive nature of its past weapons program.
“Given Iran’s decades of deception, negotiators must obtain maximum commitments to transparency in Iran,” the letter reads, alluding to the fact that Iran has yet to reveal its past bomb work despite international obligations to do so. “Unless we have a full understanding of Iran’s past program it will be impossible for the international community to judge Iran’s future breakout time with certainty.”
Additionally, the letter points out the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s commitment to thwarting any sort of permanent sanctions relief for Iran unless there is absolute certainty that Iran will not be using its nuclear program to acquire a bomb:
The United States has had a longstanding interest in preventing Iran from achieving a nuclear weapons capability. Over the last twenty years, Congress has passed numerous pieces of legislation imposing sanctions on Iran to prevent that outcome, ultimately forcing Iran into negotiations. 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. Resolving the nuclear crisis with Iran remains of grave importance to our nation’s security. As the Administration continues to negotiate with Iran, we are prepared to evaluate any agreement to determine its long-term impact on the United States and our allies. We remain hopeful that a diplomatic solution preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon may yet be reached, and we want to work with you to assure such a result.
A copy of the letter in its entirety can be found here.
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