367 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have sent President Barack Obama a letter expressing concern about the ongoing negotiations with Iran towards a nuclear deal that would keep its nuclear infrastructure in place, as the regime continues to hide information about its nuclear program from international inspectors. Unlike a recent letter sent by 47 Senators to the Iranian leadership, this letter is bipartisan, and more diplomatic–but no less opposed to a “bad deal.”
“As the deadline for a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran nears,” the letter begins, “we write to you to underscore the grave and urgent issues that have arisen in these negotiations. While we hope the Administration is able to achieve a lasting and meaningful agreement, we understand that there are several difficult issues that remain unresolved….A final comprehensive nuclear agreement must constrain Iran’s nuclear infrastructure so that Iran has no pathway to a bomb, and that agreement must be long-lasting.”
Currently, the agreement would lift restrictions on Iran after 10 years, potentially providing a pathway for it to develop a nuclear weapon at that point.
The letter adds that “Any inspection and verification regime must allow for short notice access to suspect locations, and verifiable constraints on Iran’s nuclear program must last for decades,” and also insists that “it is critical that we also consider Iran’s destabilizing role in the region.”
The number of signatories is significant, because it is well over the number of members that would be needed to form a veto-proof majority, in the event that Congress proposes new sanctions that would be enacted automatically if talks fail, or if it passed a bill requiring Senate ratification of any nuclear deal. President Obama has promised to veto either measure.
The letter, dated Friday, was released Monday by the office of House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ed Royce (R-CA).