President Joe Biden delivers remarks to the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly, Sept 21, 2021. (AP)

February 17, 2022

Over 150 lawmakers have warned US President Joe Biden against reaching a nuclear deal with Iran without Senate approval, vowing to “work tirelessly” to reimpose any lifted sanctions.

“We will view any agreement reached in Vienna which is not submitted to the US Senate for ratification as a treaty—including any and all secret agreements made with Iran directly or on the sidelines of official talks—as non-binding,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter dated Feb. 16, 2022.

Republicans have been staunch opponents of returning to the now-defunct 2015 nuclear deal, which former President Donald Trump withdrew from in 2018.

Indirect negotiations since last April between the US and Iran, mediated by Europe, China and Russia, have so far failed to reach any agreements.

But in recent days, diplomats have voiced increased optimism with the US and Iran saying talks have reached “final stages.”

Iran has demanded the lifting of all sanctions imposed by the US, which has choked off significant oil revenues for Tehran.

The Trump administration argued that Iran was forging ahead with efforts to manufacture nuclear weapons and cited Tehran’s support for terrorist acts by its proxies and militias.

Iran also wants a guarantee from Biden that any future administration will not withdraw from another deal.

“As duly elected representatives of American citizens across the United States, sent to Washington to check and balance the executive branch as established by the separation of powers in our Constitution, we feel compelled to remind you that you do not have the power to provide any such ‘guarantee,’” the lawmakers said in the letter to Biden.

“Indeed, if you forge an agreement with the Supreme Leader of Iran without formal Congressional approval, it will be temporary and non-binding and will meet the same fate as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).”

The letter was first published by Axios.

The latest threat comes after 33 Republican senators sent a similar letter to Biden earlier this month.

A State Department official previously told Al Arabiya English that the administration would respond to the earlier letter from the senators.

Republicans are eyeing the midterm elections in November, where it is expected that they will take back control of at least the Congress or Senate.

Historically, the sitting president’s political party loses seats or power during the elections right after entering the White House.

Meanwhile, there have also been reports that Iran has demanded the lifting of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from US terror blacklists.

“We will oppose any attempt to rescind the designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization and will work to expand US sanctions on all government entities, banks, companies and individuals connected to the IRGC,” the lawmakers wrote in their latest letter to Biden.

They added that they would investigate any potential links between nuclear deal talks in Vienna and the Biden administration’s negotiations with Russia over their possible invasion of Ukraine.

“If your dependency on the Russians to revive the JCPOA [nuclear deal] is weakening our deterrent posture with the Russians in other areas of the world, the American people deserve to know,” they said.

The letter provided no evidence to back up these claims or reports.

Nevertheless, the Republican lawmakers said they hoped the day would come when the US and Iran could enjoy normalized ties.

“But that day will not come if you provide sanctions relief that will fuel the regime’s corruption and incompetence at the expense of the Iranian people. We urge you to change course, learn from the first JCPOA’s failures, and work with Congress to impose maximum pressure on the Iranian regime,” the lawmakers said to Biden.

Al Arabiya

About Track Persia

Track Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.