Hundreds of U.S. lawmakers seek role in Iran nuclear talks

WASHINGTON Thu Jul 10, 2014 1:21pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than three-quarters of the U.S. House of Representatives signed a letter sent to President Barack Obama Wednesday, insisting that lawmakers play a role in any decision to offer Iran long-term sanctions relief in connection with negotiations on Tehran's nuclear program.

The letter noted that the U.S. Congress played a central role in enacting sanctions against Iran and insisted Congress be involved in any decision to ease sanctions.

Three hundred and forty-four of the chamber's 435 members, both Republicans and Democrats, signed the letter, which was released Thursday by California Republican Representative Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and New York Representative Eliot Engel, the panel's top Democrat.

The letter was a strong indication of Congress' interest in the Iran talks ahead of a July 20 deadline for international negotiators to extend an interim agreement or reach a long-term pact. Many diplomats and analysts believe an extension may be needed in view of the wide gaps in negotiating positions.

Separately, a senior Western official said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and foreign ministers from the six powers negotiating with Iran on its nuclear program would travel to Vienna this weekend to help break a logjam in the talks.

U.S. lawmakers, particularly in the Republican-controlled House, are generally skeptical of Iran's goal in the talks and doubt the Islamic Republic will give up on plans to build nuclear weapons.

The House passed tougher sanctions legislation last summer. But a similar measure stalled in the Senate, where Democrats control a majority of the seats, after the Obama administration said the measure may not give diplomacy a chance to succeed.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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Comments (6)
sabrefencer wrote:
I am glad, that congress in a bi partisan way, wants to get involved in a matter such soo important as this is, to all humanity….so far, nuclear weapons have not been used since ww2..however, if Obama makes as many concessions, as all suspect he wants to, rushing to proclaim a victory, not making sure, iran will not be another korea, to which I suspect, is exactly irans’ plan…we need calmer heads to prevail….if things can go wrong with Iran, it will go wrong…if they can cheat, they will cheat…so the more heads of our govt involved, the better I feel… it is for our country and for the world….the stakes of life and death, cannot ever be higher than this negotiation, taking place with Iran, right now..

Jul 10, 2014 3:12pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
SunnyDaySam wrote:
The reason I voted for Obama the first time was because I appreciate his level-headed, rational and intelligent approach to everything. He doesn’t just go off and invade countries without solid real evidence, for example. And he voted against the Invasion of Iraq, that I knew was a bush/GOP fabricated fiasco from the start. We need a cool, calm intellect dealing with Iran and not the ChickenHawk xenophobic GOPers who’s track record is one of pure failure.

Jul 10, 2014 5:31pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
SunnyDaySam wrote:
sabrefencer@ I tried to find a single real fact in your post and could not. Any facts at all to back up your multiple opinions? thanks.

Jul 10, 2014 5:32pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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