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Senate Republicans to Biden: Without Bipartisan Support, New Deal ‘Will Not Survive’

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The US Capitol dome is seen in Washington, US, December 17, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Erin Scott – A group of 49 Republican senators wrote on Monday to US President Joe Biden that it would not support a new nuclear deal with Iran and vowed to “reverse” any agreement that weakens sanctions or restrictions against the Islamic Republic.

Every Republican senator except Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) signed the letter, warning that “a major agreement that does not have strong bipartisan support in Congress will not survive.”

“According to press reports, the Biden administration may soon conclude an agreement with Iran to provide substantial sanctions relief in exchange for merely short-term limitations on Iran’s nuclear program,” wrote the Republican senators.

The senators went on to say that the Biden administration “appears to have given away the report,” adding that the Biden administration “appears to have agreed to lift sanctions that were not even placed on Iran for its nuclear activities in the first place, but instead because of its ongoing support for terrorism and its gross abuses of human rights.”

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“The nuclear limitations in this new deal appear to be significantly less restrictive than the 2015 nuclear deal, which was itself too weak, and will sharply undermine US leverage to secure an actually ‘longer and stronger’ deal,” they said. “What is more, the deal appears likely to deepen Iran’s financial and security relationship with Moscow and Beijing, including through arms sales.”

Last Friday, it was announced that negotiations between Iran and the world powers (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany) have been put on pause reportedly over Russia’s objections to taking part in the negotiations while under American sanctions due to its role in the invasion of Ukraine. The announcement came as the parties appeared to be on the verge of announcing the new agreement. No timeline has been given as to when talks would resume.

While no Democrats signed onto the letter, some such as Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who heads the powerful Foreign Affairs Committee, have expressed serious reservations about any nuclear deal.

The Republican senators said they support an Iran policy that “completely blocks Iran’s path to a nuclear weapons capability, constrains Iran’s ballistic missile program and confronts Iran’s support for terrorism.”

“We strongly urge the administration, our Democrat colleagues and the international community to learn the lessons of the very recent past,” they said. “A major agreement that does not have strong bipartisan support in Congress will not survive.”

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