A year later, US lawmakers still take aim at Iran nuclear deal

U.S. lawmakers this week will consider three Republican-backed measures targeting the Obama administration`s nuclear agreement with Iran, which bitterly divides Washington a year after it was announced and could play a role in November`s elections.

Reuters| Updated: Jul 12, 2016, 11:35 AM IST
A year later, US lawmakers still take aim at Iran nuclear deal
Pic courtesy: AP

Washington: U.S. lawmakers this week will consider three Republican-backed measures targeting the Obama administration`s nuclear agreement with Iran, which bitterly divides Washington a year after it was announced and could play a role in November`s elections.

One bill would impose new sanctions on Iran over any sponsorship of terrorism or human rights violations.

Another would bar the purchase from Iran of "heavy water," a non-radioactive byproduct from making nuclear weapons and nuclear energy.

The third would block Iran`s access to the U.S. financial system, including the use of the dollar.

Republican lawmakers, who control the House of Representatives and Senate and unanimously opposed the nuclear deal announced last July 14, have said the measures are necessary to send Iran a strong message that it will face consequences if it violates international agreements.

Many, joined by several Democrats, have been especially concerned by Iran`s actions since the deal was officially implemented in January, including its test-firing of ballistic missiles in March.

"It makes sense to do all we can to check this very dangerous Iranian activity," Republican Representative Ed Royce, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Rules Committee, which sets up rules for debate of bills headed to the House floor.

Thanks in part to the nuclear agreement, Iran has begun to rejoin global politics and economics after more than three decades of isolation.

Business and political leaders are visiting the country, which is also hosting trade conferences.

In his first report on the deal, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Iran`s ballistic missile launches "are not consistent with the constructive spirit" of the nuclear deal. He said it was up to the U.N. Security Council to decide if the launches violated the resolution backing the agreement.

However, he also said he was "encouraged by Iran`s implementation of its nuclear commitments."

Republicans worry that President Barack Obama is so eager to preserve the pact as a legacy that his administration will give Tehran too much leeway before he leaves office in January.