White House: Bill Would Prevent US Implementation of Iran Deal
by VOA News January 12, 2016
The White House says a bill that seeks to bar the U.S. from lifting certain sanctions against Iran would violate commitments necessary to implement the international agreement to limit the Iranian nuclear program.
Iran made the deal with the U.S., Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany last year to cut back its nuclear activity and allay concerns it was trying to build nuclear weapons. In exchange, those countries agreed to lift economic sanctions they imposed because of the alleged nuclear arms work.
The legislation in the House of Representatives would prohibit removing sanctions against individuals and companies until the president certifies they were not involved in transactions with Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, a terrorist organization, or anyone whose property has been blocked in relation to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The U.S. Office of Management and Budget said President Barack Obama's administration strongly opposes the bill and would veto it if the House and Senate both approve the measure.
An OMB policy statement released Monday said the bill would prevent the U.S. from fulfilling its commitments by linking the nuclear deal with unrelated issues. It said those included past activities and individuals who would no longer be subject to sanctions once the agreement goes into effect.
The consequences, according to the White House, include the potential 'collapse of a comprehensive diplomatic arrangement that peacefully and verifiably prevents Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.'
Opponents of the nuclear deal have said it gives Iran far too much relief, unlocking billions of dollars while leaving the country with too much of a nuclear program to trust it will not try to make nuclear weapons. Iran has long insisted its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.
The OMB statement said the White House 'remains clear-eyed' about the concerns of Congress and the American people, and reiterated that lifting sanctions tied to the nuclear program would not effect the sanctions enacted against Iran for other reasons.
'Powerful sanctions targeting Iran's support for terrorism, its ballistic missile activities, its human rights abuses, and its destabilizing activities in the region remain in effect,' read the statement.
Iranian media said Monday the government had begun work to dismantle the core of the Arak heavy water reactor, one of the steps it must complete with verification from U.N. monitors in order to get the sanctions relief.
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