September 23, 2015 / 4:48 PM / 4 years ago

Republican lawmaker raises Iran nuclear deal tax question

House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) gestures at a news conference on "Taxpayers Protection Alliance on Trade Promotion Authority" on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 10, 2015. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A powerful U.S. Republican lawmaker asked President Barack Obama to explain whether the Iran nuclear agreement would eliminate U.S. tax penalties on companies that do business with Iran.

In a letter dated Tuesday and released by his office on Wednesday, Representative Paul Ryan wrote to Obama criticizing the nuclear agreement and asking whether it also would affect tax rules that discourage U.S. firms from doing business with countries that support terrorism.

“Your policy raises serious questions about whether you intend to keep in place tax rules that discourage conducting business with Iran,” Ryan, chairman of the tax-writing House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, wrote.

The international pact lifts sanctions imposed over Iran’s nuclear development in exchange for it curtailing the program, but it is not supposed to affect sanctions imposed for other reasons like support for terrorism or human rights violations.Congress failed to pass a resolution disapproving of the international nuclear agreement before a Sept. 17 deadline, preserving a potential legacy foreign policy achievement for Obama.

But lawmakers who oppose the deal, mostly Republicans, have made clear they have not given up their fight over what they see as a dangerous agreement reached by the Democratic administration.

Some are writing legislation to renew existing sanctions and impose new ones within the next few months, despite White House objections.

Ryan was the Republican nominee for vice president in the 2012 campaign. He and presidential nominee, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, lost the election to Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by David Gregorio

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