By Javad Heirannia

Majority of congress members not looking forward to voting on Iran sanctions: Former congressman

October 30, 2017

TEHRAN - Former U.S. Congressman James Charles Slattery says I don’t think the majority of members of congress in the GOP are looking forward to voting on Iran sanctions. “There is a great controversy in the U.S. about the JCPOA.  Many political leaders in the Congress oppose the actions taken by the president,” Slattery tells the Tehran Times in an exclusive interview.

Following is the full text of the interview:

Q: Despite many internal and external oppositions, Trump decertified the JCPOA. What were the reasons behind his very decision? What signal did he want to deliver both internally and externally by doing so?

A: As you know there is a great controversy in the U.S. about the JCPOA.  Many political leaders in the Congress oppose the actions taken by the president.  It is not clear yet what his actions mean. He appears to be acknowledging that Iran is in technical compliance with the JCPOA while concluding that Iran is in violation of the spirit of the deal.   I do not know what the future holds.  Sen. Cotton, one of the most out spoken opponents of the deal has indicated that he does not plan to offer legislation to re-impose sanctions at this time.  This is good.   I think he and the president are hopeful that Iran , the U.S. and the other signatories to the JCPOA can agree to address the concerns of opponents related to inspections and duration.  
Being an optimist perhaps some common ground can be found by preserving the JCPOA while agreeing to discuss other issues that are important to the region including Hezbollah, Syria and Yemen and the Iranian missile program.   Instead of tearing up the JCPOA let’s build on it to address other outstanding issues.  
Trump did say during the campaign that he did not like the JCPOA and that he would tear it up.  So he thinks he is honoring his word during the campaign.   Many of his supporters thought he would change his mind when he became president.  

Q: Reimposing Iran's sanctions by Congress is in fact tantamount to the violation of JCPOA. Then, Trump makes Congress responsible for the scrap of the very deal. Do you believe Congress Reimpose Iran's nuclear deal waiver before?

A: I don’t think the majority of members of congress in the GOP are looking forward to voting on sanctions.  
President Trump is very concerned about Iran’s activity in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.   He view’s Iran’s activity in these regions as destabilizing.  He thinks Iran is supporting chaos and or terrorism in the region.

I believe it is important for Iran, the U.S. and the other signatories to the JCPOA to come together again, not to renegotiate the JCPOA but rather to build on it.  
The stakes are too high to move forward based on inaccurate information.  The best way to learn more about the other side is to engage in dialogue.
Both sides need to proceed cautiously with respect for the legitimate security concerns of the other.

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