Congress Lines Up to Oppose Iran Nuke Deal

Nearly 200 House lawmakers express disapproval

AP

Nearly 200 House lawmakers have lined up behind a resolution opposing the recently signed Iran nuclear deal, according to a copy of the measure obtained by the Washington Free Beacon and congressional sources apprised of the situation.

Less than a week after the Obama administration agreed to a deal with Iran that will provide it with billions of dollars in economic sanctions relief, at least 171 Republican House lawmakers have backed a measure expressing disapproval of the deal, the Free Beacon has learned.

As the Obama administration works to wrangle a coalition of lawmakers in support of the deal, the House resolution appears to be a sign that many in Congress have already decided to oppose it.

Congress has 60 days to review the deal and then take an up or down vote on it. The Obama administration has already vowed to veto any rejection of the deal by Congress.

The House resolution, which has already garnered widespread support from leading lawmakers, expresses "form disapproval" of the nuclear deal and reiterates congressional support to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon, according to a copy of the measure, which was spearheaded by Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.)

The resolution also rejects key portions of the deal, including ones providing Iran with billions of dollars in assets and approving of the Islamic Republic’s right to construct ballistic missiles and freely purchase arms.

In addition, it highlights that the deal "allows key restraints on Iran’s nuclear program to expire within 10 to 15 years, including those on Iran’s domestic uranium enrichment program and heavy-water reactor at Arak," according to the measure.

"The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA] fails to address Iran’s egregious human rights record, Iran’s role as the world’s leading state-sponsor of international terrorism, and Iran’s unjust imprisonment of innocent United States citizens," the resolution states.

Lawmakers and analysts in recent days have accused the White House of trying to bypass congressional approval of the deal by going straight to the United Nations.

If the U.N. approves the deal before Congress signs off, the Obama administration could have leverage to begin removing key sanctions on Iran.

The deal also prohibits American nuclear inspectors from entering any contested Iranian site.

The resolution has already attracted the support of 171 House lawmakers and is expected to garner many more, according to congressional sources.

In addition to Roskam, 14 of 22 House committee chairs have lent their support for the resolution, as well as three members of the House leadership and other notable legislators, such as Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.), Jim Jordon (R., Ohio), and Bill Flores (R., Texas).

Roskam told the Free Beacon that the final deal fails to adequately address key nuclear concerns and rein in Tehran’s rogue behavior.

"This agreement fails on every level to ensure Iran never acquires a nuclear weapons capability. Tehran is allowed to keep much of its nuclear infrastructure intact and is rewarded a $150 billion cash infusion from sanctions relief," Roskam said. "The so-called ‘anytime, anywhere’ inspections regime in reality provides Iran nearly a month's notice on inspections."

"And, in an unprecedented last-minute concession, the U.N. arms embargo and ban on ballistic missiles will be lifted in just a few short years," he added. "This is a bad deal and it must be stopped."

Roskam explained that his legislation will "set the stage" for the 60-day review period being undertaken by Congress.

"The unprecedented outpouring of support for this resolution proves that Congress will not rubber-stamp a deal that severely threatens the United States and our allies by paving Iran's path to a bomb," he said.

One senior congressional aide familiar with the resolution said that a large number of lawmakers have already made their mind up about the deal.

"Attracting this level of opposition to the deal so early in the process is remarkable," the source said. "Members are lining up behind this resolution for one simple reason: the administration's nuclear agreement is an unmitigated disaster. Iran gets everything it wants and more—sanctions relief, lax inspections, conventional weapons, and even ballistic missiles."

While the Obama administration "may be confident that it has a veto-proof majority in both chambers," the quick "outpouring of dissent from Congress with two months before a vote could halt the agreement in its tracks," the source said.