U.S. Lawmakers Aim to Tighten Terms of Iran Nuclear Deal

A bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday aimed at tightening the terms of the Iran nuclear deal, despite Tehran’s rejection of changes to the accord, Euractiv reports. U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the agreement aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear program, which was agreed under his predecessor Barack Obama’s administration.

The Iran Freedom Policy and Sanctions Act was introduced by Peter Roskam and backed by Liz Cheney, both Congressional Republicans. The proposed legislation “makes clear what any effective agreement would have to contain,” Cheney said in a statement.

“A deal with Iran would need to at a minimum, authorize anywhere, anytime inspections including inspections of military facilities; disclosure of all past and present, military and civilian nuclear activity; a ban on weapons-grade enrichment; and a restriction on ballistic missile development. The legislation “will ensure that sanctions on Iran will only be relaxed if Iran meets these crucial requirements,” said Cheney, criticising the current agreement for allegedly delivering sanctions relief and cash payments to the Iranian regime in exchange for unverifiable promises.

A parallel bill aimed at toughening the nuclear deal is under consideration in the Senate.

Trump again waived nuclear-related sanctions last week — as required every few months to stay in the P5+1 agreement — but demanded European partners work with Washington to “fix the deal’s disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw.”

The bill was introduced to increase pressure on Iran for its human rights abuses, support for terrorism and ballistic missile program, and to strengthen the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) by placing stringent restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program, fixing the deficiencies of the nuclear accord to permanently prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapons capability.

The legislation seeks to fix the major flaws of the JCPOA, including the nuclear deal’s sunset provisions, the faulty inspections regime and provisions that allow advanced nuclear technology and ballistic missile research and development. If Iran fails to abide by the rigid restrictions pursuant to this bill, all sanctions waived pursuant to the JCPOA would be re-imposed. The other parties to the pact – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the European Union – say that it is working and that Iran is complying fully with its commitments.

Iran’s foreign ministry has said it “will not accept any amendments in this agreement” — and the International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed Tehran’s compliance with the current deal. It has submitted the eighth 3-month report to the parliament on the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers, a spokesperson said.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Wednesday that the quarterly report was submitted to the parliament in compliance with a law obliging the administration to take appropriate retaliatory actions in implementation of the JCPOA.

According to the spokesman, the report dismisses the U.S. administration’s unilateral and destructive measures regarding the implementation of the nuclear deal, highlighting the international community’s confirmation that Iran has been fully committed to the JCPOA.