Senators are moving to block the White House from giving Iran another $2.8 billion in cash assets until the administration can assure lawmakers that Tehran will not use the money to fund terrorism, according to a copy of new legislation obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
A group of senators unveiled new legislation late Wednesday that would force President Barack Obama to go to Congress for approval on any potential nuclear deal with Iran and that would bar the White House from granting any further extension in the talks, according to Senate sources familiar with the bill.
The Iran Nuclear Negotiations Act of 2014—jointly sponsored by Republican Sens. Bob Corker (Tenn.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), John McCain (Ariz.), and James Risch (Idaho)—would require the president to submit any nuclear agreement with Iran to Congress within three days of the deal being struck, according to sources briefed on the bill.
Iran could still produce enough nuclear material to fuel a bomb in as little as two months, a timeframe that has not been prolonged under the recently struck agreement to extend nuclear talks through November, according to experts.
The United States will give Iran access to another $2.8 billion over the next several months and appears to have conceded to Iran’s demand that it be permitted to domestically enrich uranium, the key component in a nuclear weapon, according to senior Obama administration officials.
Lawmakers came out swinging on Thursday afternoon after the State Department issued a blanket denial regarding statements that Secretary of State John Kerry made to members of Congress earlier that morning about the potential need for new sanctions on Iran.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is in Turkey this week for the first official high-level meeting in nearly 20 years, sparking speculation that the two nations are growing closer as a means to offset U.S. power in the region and further solidify a deal meant to skirt U.S. sanctions on Tehran.
The autocratic leaders of Iran and Venezuela criticized U.S. foreign policy actions using the same language over the weekend as the two countries develop closer ties.
Earlier this week, a video clip surfaced in which Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) said, in the context of talking about sanctions on Iran, that “leading up to World War II, we cut off trade with Japan. That probably caused Japan to react angrily.” Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post reported on the video, accusing Paul of essentially attributing U.S. involvement in World War II to American provocations. Paul’s office rushed to respond.