McConnell says Senate panel will review tenative nuclear framework with Iran

04/06/2015 04:53 PM

Fresh on the heels of a trip to the Middle East, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell says he has reviewed the framework of a nuclear deal with Iran and wants President Barack Obama to justify the deal to Congress.

McConnell was leading a Senate delegation in Israel, Jordan, Iraq, and Afghanistan when Obama announced the interim deal from the White House Thursday before boarding Air Force One and flying into McConnell’s home turf of Kentucky.

In a statement Monday, the Senate majority leader said Iran’s previous attempts at creating a nuclear weapon is of “grave concern” to him and allies on the ground across the region.

“In initially reviewing the parameters of the interim agreement, several things are obvious: Iran will continue to enrich uranium and retain more than 6,000 centrifuges, and continue the research and development of more advanced centrifuges,” McConnell said in the statement. “Under no terms should the administration suspend sanctions, nor should the United Nations remove sanctions until the Iranians reveal all aspects of the Possible Military Dimensions of its previous research.”

Along with 47 other senators, McConnell interjected into the nuclear negotiations in March, informing the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that a deal between the White House and Tehran would hold little weight without congressional approval.

In the statement, McConnell said the White House should explain why sanctions
should be reduced “on the world’s leading state sponsor of terror,” and he said Congress will have their own review of the deal.

“The Senate will review these parameters more thoroughly, and respond legislatively with the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, which is scheduled to be reported out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee next week,” McConnell said.

In an interview with the New York Times published Sunday, Obama called the tentative deal reached with Iran a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see whether or not we can at least take the nuclear issue off the table.”

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