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Chambliss Urges Strict Congressional Oversight of Iran Nuclear Deal

By   /   November 27, 2013  /   Comments

Special to the Journal

Sends letter to Senate Foreign Relations Committee requesting report on the verifiability of proposal

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, today sent a letter to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Robert Menendez (D-Fla.) and Ranking Member Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) urging them to use existing authority to request a report from the Secretary of State on the verifiability of the administration’s recent nuclear agreement with Iran. The letter was signed by U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and several other members of the Senate Intelligence, Armed Services and Banking Committees.

Current law states that the chairman or ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee may request a report from the Secretary of State on the verifiability of any arms control, nonproliferation, or disarmament proposal. The senators are urging that the committee request this report and make it available to the Senate Committees on Intelligence, Armed Services, and Banking, all of which maintain important oversight of this issue.

In the letter to Senators Menendez and Corker, the group of eight senators wrote, “Verification and compliance, as well as the fortitude to publicly identify and address non-compliance, represent the foundation of any successful arms control or disarmament agreement. We respectfully urge you to request this verification assessment from the Secretary of State and to make this report available to the Senate Committees on Intelligence, Armed Services, and Banking. Given Iran’s history of non-compliance, we believe this is not only a prudent step, but a sensible and necessary element of congressional oversight.”

In addition to Senators Chambliss and Inhofe, the letter was signed by Senators Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and David Vitter (R-La.).

The full text of the letter follows:

Dear Senators Menendez and Corker:

We write to you concerning the recent nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 countries, which reportedly provides at least $7 billion dollars in sanctions relief to Iran in exchange for a commitment to decelerate the Iranian nuclear program.

In order for this agreed-upon framework to succeed, the United States and other countries must be able to verify Iran’s compliance with the terms of the agreement. We urge you, as the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to use all authorities at your disposal to ensure that the United States is taking all appropriate steps to verify Iran’s compliance with this agreement. Specifically, pursuant to 22 USC 2577, the Chairman or Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee may request a report from the Secretary of State on the verifiability of any arms control, nonproliferation, or disarmament proposal. This report shall detail “the degree to which elements of the proposal are capable of being verified” and shall “assume that all measures of concealment, not expressly prohibited, could be employed and that standard practices could be altered so as to impede verification.”

Verification and compliance, as well as the fortitude to publicly identify and address non-compliance, represent the foundation of any successful arms control or disarmament agreement. We respectfully urge you to request this verification assessment from the Secretary of State and to make this report available to the Senate Committees on Intelligence, Armed Services, and Banking. Given Iran’s history of non-compliance, we believe this is not only a prudent step, but a sensible and necessary element of congressional oversight.

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