|U.S. lawmakers issue new Iran demands: FP||
TEHRAN – With just about one week before the July 20 deadline for Iran and six world powers to come to an agreement in Vienna on Tehran’s nuclear enrichment capabilities, a key pair of senators is issuing a new set of terms for a final deal that could further complicate the delicate talks, Foreign Policy reported on Monday.
In a letter obtained by Foreign Policy, Senators Bob Menendez, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Lindsey Graham, a member of the Armed Services Committee, demand that any deal allow international inspectors to probe Iranian facilities for “at least 20 years.” It also says the inspections “must be intrusive,” with the International Atomic Energy Agency gaining “access to any and all facilities, persons or documentation” necessary to determine Iran’s compliance with the deal.
In the letter, the senators say that they will keep the existing economic sanctions against Iran in place unless Tehran agrees to 20 years of inspections.
“The talks could be thrown off course if senators try to grab the steering wheel away from U.S. and allied negotiators,” said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, a nonproliferation organization.
The letter, which is addressed to the president, went out to members of the Senate Banking Committee, Foreign Relations Committee, and Armed Services Committee on Friday, July 11. It has the support of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the powerful pro-Israel lobbying group, an AIPAC official confirmed.
A senior Obama administration official declined to say whether the White House is open to an inspection regime that is shorter than 20 years. “We are not going to discuss our negotiating positions in public,” the official told Foreign Policy in a statement Monday.
Over the weekend, a senior U.S. official told reporters in Vienna any final agreement would need to ensure that Iran’s future enrichment activities would be “very limited” for a number of years that can be measured in “double digits.”
“For some period of time, they are going to have a very limited, very constrained program that will have inspections, verification, monitoring, and a lot of limitations of what they can do,” the official said.
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