WASHINGTON – As the indirect negotiations between Iran and the US are underway, Senate Republicans seek a congressional review of “executive branch proposals to terminate or waive sanctions imposed with respect to Iran.”Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), the Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member, announced on Wednesday that he is signing on to Senator Bill Hagerty’s (R-Tenn.) Iran Sanctions Relief Review Act of 2021.According to the bill, before any sanction removal takes place or any other action that “significantly alters United States foreign policy with respect to Iran,” the President should submit to the relevant congressional committees and leadership a report “that describes the proposed action and the reasons for that action.”“Each report submitted shall include a description of the significant alteration to the United States foreign policy with respect to Iran; the anticipated effect of the action on the national security interests of the United States; and the policy objectives for which the sanctions affected by the action were initially imposed,” the bill reads.“It’s increasingly clear that the Biden Administration’s promises to ‘lengthen and strengthen’ the Iran nuclear deal are instead an attempt to re-enter the flawed 2015 JCPOA at any cost,” Risch said in a statement. “That’s why I have co-sponsored the Iran Sanctions Relief Review Act. This bill would require Congress to approve any Biden Administration effort to lift sanctions against the Iranian regime.“The United States currently maintains a position of significant leverage with Iran because our sanctions are working,” he continued. “Given that reality, the administration should keep its promises to address the JCPOA’s looming sunsets, as well as Iran’s regional terrorism, ballistic missile activity, and wrongful imprisonment of Americans.”He went on to say that “if President Biden wants a lasting Iran policy that transcends administrations, he should pursue an approach that will have bipartisan support.”
SENATE DEMOCRATS, MEANWHILE, sent a letter to President Biden urging him to rejoin the 2015 nuclear agreement. “There is no question that one of your early pressing national security priorities should be to return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to address the threat of Iran’s nuclear program,” wrote 27 senators in a letter led by Tim Kaine and Chris Murphy. “As such, we are encouraged that indirect talks are underway in Vienna aimed at reviving the nuclear agreement,” they added.“We strongly support returning to the JCPOA and using a “compliance for compliance” approach as a starting point to reset US relations with Iran,” the letter reads. “Should Iran be willing to return to compliance with the limitations set by the JCPOA, the United States should be willing to rejoin the deal and provide the sanctions relief required under the agreement. This return would also mark your Administration’s adherence to the congressional reporting requirements of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, ensuring that Congress is regularly informed of all aspects of Iranian compliance.” Find the text of the bill here.
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