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Obama must bring Iran nuclear deal to Congress: GOP senator

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker

An influential Republican senator says he is moving forward with legislation that would prevent President Barack Obama from lifting sanctions against Iran until Congress reviews a nuclear deal.

"There is growing bipartisan support for congressional review of the nuclear deal, and I am confident of a strong vote on the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee takes it up on April 14," Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement on Thursday.

His comments came shortly after the P5+1 – the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany – reached an outline of an agreement with Iran over its civilian nuclear work that would lift all international sanctions imposed against the Islamic Republic in exchange for certain steps Tehran will take with regard to its nuclear program.

Corker warned the Obama administration not to bypass the Republican-dominated Congress by taking the Iran agreement straight to the United Nations.

"Rather than bypass Congress and head straight to the UN Security Council as planned, the administration first should seek the input of the American people," he said.

From left : Chinese Ambassador to Switzerland Hailong Wu, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Russian Deputy Political Director Alexey Karpov, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and US Secretary of State John Kerry at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale De Lausanne after nuclear talks in Lausanne, Switzerland, April 2, 2015.

Corker has co-authored a controversial bill with Senator Robert Menendez that requires the US president to submit the text of any nuclear deal with Iran to Congress for review.

The legislation would also ban the White House from lifting any sanctions for a period of 60 days so that Congress could hold hearings and debate the deal. Obama has threatened to veto the bill.

On Wednesday, Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, was indicted by a federal grand jury on corruption and bribery charges for using his influence to illegally benefit a Florida eye doctor.

The indictment forced Menendez to step aside as ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that would remove one of the Senate's most hawkish Democrats from the influential panel.

With the anti-Iran Democrat senator not on the panel, the bill is unlikely to gain Democratic support, the Washington-based newspaper The Hill reported on Thursday.

After Menendez, the next most senior Democrat on the influential panel is Senator Barbara Boxer, who is an ally of the president and opposes passing any anti-Iran legislation before the final July 1 deadline in the talks, the newspaper said.


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