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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

US Republican Senators Warn Iran on Limits of Possible Nuclear Deal

by VOA News March 09, 2015

A group of 47 U.S. Republican senators warned Iran Monday that any nuclear deal it negotiates with President Barack Obama could last only until he leaves office in early 2017.

In a letter to Tehran, the Republican group said that if any agreement now being negotiated with the U.S. and five other world powers is not approved by Congress it would consider the pact 'as nothing more than an executive agreement' between Obama and Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The Republicans said without congressional approval of a nuclear deal with Iran, the next U.S. president 'could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.'

The lawmakers, including all but seven of the party's 54-member majority in the U.S. Senate, warned that while Obama will be leaving office in less than two years, as mandated by the U.S. Constitution, many of them might still be in office for decades.

Over the weekend, Obama said the U.S. will 'walk away' from the nuclear talks with Tehran if it decides that an internationally verifiable deal cannot be reached to keep Iran from building a nuclear weapon. But he has threatened to veto proposed legislation that would mandate congressional review of any deal that is reached.

Tehran insists that its nuclear program is for civilian purposes and has been negotiating with the U.S., Germany, Britain, France, China and Russia on the scope of nuclear activities it can carry out in exchange for lifting the crippling economic sanctions the U.S. and Europe have imposed on it.

Negotiators are facing a self-imposed deadline to complete the basic structure of a deal by March 31, with final agreement by the end of June.

Numerous U.S. lawmakers, mostly Republicans, have voiced concern about the negotiations, fearing that the sanctions will be loosened while Iran is free to pursue development of nuclear weaponry.

The leader of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, Speaker John Boehner, invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress last week about what Tel Aviv views as a 'bad deal' that is evolving in the Iranian nuclear talks. Boehner issued the invitation without alerting the White House, bypassing the normal diplomatic protocol in the U.S.

Some material for this report came from AFP and Reuters.

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