SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)- A group of 43 Republican senators have sent a scathing letter to US President Barack Obama, expressing “alarm” by the prospect of a nuclear accord with Iran.
The senators, led by Mark Kirk and Marco Rubio, told Obama Wednesday that they were worried by “reports that your administration plans to circumvent Congress and unilaterally provide significant sanctions relief under a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran,” according to Israel National News.
Republicans, who will take complete control of both chambers of Congress in January, are deeply skeptical of the ongoing negotiations over Iran’s nuclear energy program.
Iran and the P5+1 group – the US, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany – continued their talks in the Austrian capital, Vienna, on Saturday to work out a final deal aimed at ending the longstanding nuclear standoff before a November 24 deadline.
On Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held fresh trilateral talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry and EU coordinator Catherine Ashton in Vienna.
Kerry arrived in Vienna on Thursday, and insisted that the talks were focused on a deal before the Nov. 24 deadline.
The ascendant Republicans, however, have warned they would take new legislative action to impose further sanctions on Iran if they find the deal unacceptable.
Senator Bob Corker, the incoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who was among those signing the letter to Obama, said the Senate will “weigh in” after a deal is struck whether the White House wishes that to occur or not.
The Republican senators further warned the US president that any circumvention of Congress runs counter to assurances by Secretary Kerry that the White House was “absolutely obligated by law to come back to Congress in order to lift sanctions as part of the final deal with Iran.”
The senators said that the administration’s stance disregarded clear expressions from the Senate emphasizing the need for Iran to fully suspend its uranium enrichment program and dismantle its nuclear infrastructure.
Sources close to the Iranian negotiating team say the main stumbling block to a nuclear accord is the removal of all sanctions imposed on the country, and not the number of centrifuges or the level of uranium enrichment.