US Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell. FILE PHOTO

US Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell

McConnell Urges Major Hearings, Vote Before US Reenters Iran Deal


The Senate minority leader says US policies toward Iran is a concern for both Republicans and Democrats, calling for major hearings on Vienna nuclear talks.

Mitch McConnell urged the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Monday to hold hearings before Washington reenters the nuclear deal with Tehran, saying that Congress should be consulted ahead of restoring the agreement.

Echoing earlier comments by committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) to exert more pressure to restrict Iran’s nuclear program, missile program, and stop its attacks on American personnel and assets around the Middle East, McConnell said the decision warrants bipartisan consideration.

McConnell warned that if the administration aims to remove sanctions Congress should vote on it.

He noted that the imminent “sequel to the bad 2015 Iran nuclear deal” means “choosing weakness in the Middle East” because it is “an enormous step in the wrong direction”.

“It appears not to be a ‘longer and stronger’ deal as was promised, but a “weaker and shorter deal” that won’t “safeguard and increase our leverage over Tehran and its Revolutionary Guard”.

Referring to sevaral diplomats leaving the US negotiating team because of Special Envoy Robert Malley’s “going much too soft”, he asked the administration “to clearly explain its Middle East strategy”.

“I have encouraged them to push back strongly against Iranian aggression and contest growing Russian and Chinese influence in a region of significant interest to the United States”, he added.

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