News : Nuclear

US Lawmakers Remain Concerned About Iran Nuclear Issue

By INU staff

INU - On Thursday, 354 members of the US House of Representatives submitted a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry expressing concern over the lack of progress in the IAEA probe of the past military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program. The effort was led by the chairman and the ranking member of House Foreign Affairs Committee, respectively a Republican and a Democrat, supported by the vast majority of House lawmakers.

The letter observes that Iran has refused to cooperate with the IAEA, and suggests that this means Iran has failed “a fundamental test of [its] intention to uphold a comprehensive agreement.” The letter highlights some of the specific problems that Iran has engendered in the process, and goes on to say, “The only reasonable conclusion for its stonewalling of international investigators is that Tehran does indeed have much to hide.”

The House letter urges Secretary Kerry to use the status of the IAEA probe as a determining factor in decisions regarding the six-party negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. It has always been assumed that although the two processes were separate, the IAEA inquiry would affect negotiations. But it is also no surprise that the US Congress would feel compelled to remind the Obama administration about this point. There is and long has been much concern about a soft approach to talks on the part of the US.

In the journalistic community, one particularly outspoken critic of that approach has been Jennifer Rubin, whose latest editorial at the Washington Post observes that “desperation” is now a frequently-used term in describing the Obama administration’s efforts to secure a nuclear deal. Rubin also quotes the Foreign Policy Institute as saying that the P5+1 negotiating positions is “moving dangerously closer to Tehran’s position,” leading to the possibility of Iran being allowed to keep its entire nuclear program in place.

An editorial published this week in the Chicago Tribune describes recent ideas for compromise as “dangerous,” and urges the United States to avoid backing down on the central purpose of negotiations: to limit Iran’s nuclear breakout capability. The editorial specifically advocates for imposing much tougher sanctions if Iran fails to agree to deal by the November 24 deadline. It also observes that such ideas have been floated before, but have been shut down by President Obama. 

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