Congress Seeks to Reset Terms of Iran Deal

Measure comes after Dems, White House kill new sanctions

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• December 12, 2013 8:19 pm


House lawmakers are pushing a measure to reset the terms of a controversial nuclear accord reached between Iran and Western nations several weeks ago in Geneva, according to a copy of the bill obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The measure comes less than a day after Senate Democrats and the White House successfully killed a new Iran sanctions measure that was on the cusp of winning congressional approval.

It also follows another sanctions resolution that died in the House on Thursday afternoon after Democratic leadership walked away from the deal.

The new bipartisan Iran measure, which was filed Thursday evening by Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.), asks that the Obama administration and other Western nations recast the parameters of the negotiations with Iran.

The Western negotiating team known as the P5+1 should "only accept a final nuclear agreement with Iran that definitively prevents Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability, ceases Iran’s construction of advanced missiles and warheads, suspends Iran’s support for terrorist organizations, and reduces human rights violations within Iran," according to the measure.

The resolution’s terms run counter to those accepted by the White House, which has said it is willing permit Iran to continue enriching uranium and test its ballistic missiles.

The interim deal – which has yet to take effect – would halt some portions of Iran’s nuclear program for six-months and provide it with some $7 billion in sanctions relief.

Roskam’s resolution, which is backed by Reps. Michael McCaul (R., Texas), Gene Green (D., Texas), and Dan Lipinski (D., Ill.), goes well past the White House’s benchmarks.

It stipulates that "Iran should completely dismantle all enrichment facilities and cease all centrifuge production" and "declares that Iran should completely dismantle its heavy-water plutonium reactor at Arak."

The Arak reactor has been another sticking point in negotiations between the West and Iran, which has vowed to continue construction on the plant.

Many Westerners fear that the plutonium produced by the Arak plant will provide Tehran with a second path to a nuclear weapon.

Roskam’s amendment states that the P5+1 should ensure that Iran ceases "all heavy-water production efforts" and allow "constant, intrusive inspections."

The resolution also takes aim at the White House’s decision to allow Iran to test a ballistic missile under the accord.

"Iran should cease the development, production, and testing of long-range ballistic missiles," the measure said.

It also pushes for greater economic sanctions, which have become the most controversial aspect of the Iranian issue over the past several weeks.

Iranian officials have said that new sanctions would kill the weeks-old agreement.

Roskam’s measure – much like the one that fell apart on Thursday – "reaffirms the need for additional economic sanctions against Iran should it fail to meet the negotiated terms of the interim agreement within six months of implementing the deal."

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) allowed the Roskam resolution to be filed shortly before the legislative day came to an end. This was hours after Cantor's own Iran resolution fell apart when Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) withdrew his support.

Other issues such as human rights and Iran’s support for the terror group Hamas also receive a mention in the latest measure.

The P5+1 must ensure that Iran suspends "its support for terrorist organizations including Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as the Assad regime in Syria," Roskam's resolution says.

Additionally, the resolution demands that Iran – the global leader in executions per capita – improve its human rights record and stop imprisoning religious minorities.

One senior House GOP aide said the measure is an attempt to push back against the White House's negotiating position.

"It's refreshing to see that there are still Democrats willing to stand up against the Obama administration's dangerous Iran policy," the aide said.

"This bill addresses the many important topics excluded from the interim agreement: enrichment, heavy-water reactors, international inspections, ballistic missile and warhead development, terrorist funding, and human rights abuses. It therefore sends a clear message to the White House at a critical time: do not accept another bad deal with Iran."