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US lawmakers urge Biden to include ballistic missiles, backing of proxies in Iran deal

March 10, 2021
A bipartisan group of 140 members of US Congress on Tuesday sent a letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, urging him to seek an agreement with Iran that is not limited to the country's nuclear project, but addresses the whole range of threats. — Courtesy photo
A bipartisan group of 140 members of US Congress on Tuesday sent a letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, urging him to seek an agreement with Iran that is not limited to the country's nuclear project, but addresses the whole range of threats. — Courtesy photo



WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of 140 members of US Congress on Tuesday sent a letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, urging him to seek an agreement with Iran that is not limited to the country's nuclear project, but addresses the whole range of threats.

The new administration headed by US President Joe Biden has vowed to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and use it as the basis for further negotiations on the outstanding issues concerning Iran's ballistic missile program and its support for militant proxies across the Middle East.

“As the Biden administration considers negotiations with Iran, we write to express our bipartisan and shared view that we must seek an agreement or set of agreements with Iran that are comprehensive in nature to address the full range of threats that Iran poses to the region,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter.

“As Democrats and Republicans from across the political spectrum, we are united in preventing an Iranian nuclear weapon and addressing the wide range of illicit Iranian behavior,” they added.

The letter, which was organized by Democrat congressman from Maryland Anthony Brown and Republican congressman from Florida Michael Waltz, is signed by 70 Democrats and 70 Republicans.

Tuesday’s bipartisan letter comes after one from 150 Democrats in December urging Biden to “swiftly” re-enter the Iran nuclear deal and one from 120 Republicans in February warning Biden not to rejoin the nuclear deal without significant changes.

Some of the same lawmakers signed both Tuesday’s bipartisan letter and one of the partisan letters.

Tuesday’s letter acknowledged that differences of opinion continue to exist about “what the parameters of a final deal should entail and the process by which it is reached,” but it said there is a “bipartisan consensus” on several issues.

“Three core tenets — their nuclear program, their ballistic missile program, and their funding of terrorism — must be addressed from the outset,” the lawmakers wrote. — Agencies


March 10, 2021
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