US Intelligence Panel Dems Rally to Back Accord

US Intelligence Panel Dems Rally to Back Accord US Intelligence Panel Dems Rally to Back Accord

Current and former Democrats on the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee are trying to persuade their colleagues to back the nuclear deal with Iran by pointing to past intelligence assessments.

Classified reviews available to lawmakers make it clear that Iran is highly likely to comply with the terms of the accord it reached with major powers last month, ten Democrats wrote in a letter on Thursday, the Hill reported.

"We are confident that this monitoring and the highly intrusive inspections provided for in the agreement — along with our own intelligence capabilities — make it nearly impossible for Iran to develop a covert enrichment effort without detection," they said. "You need not just take our word for it; please arrange a time to visit the Office of House Security in HVC-301 where you can read the assessment of our intelligence agencies for yourself."

The lawmakers also seek to address what they call "side deals" between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, which have become a flash point for critics of the deal.

Skeptics have scolded the IAEA for refusing to detail its plans to study Iran's past nuclear activities. But US intelligence agents have deep enough insight to make those details virtually meaningless, the lawmakers wrote.

"Our intelligence is far more comprehensive and accurate than the statements we are likely to obtain from Iran's scientists or the information we can gather from IAEA access to (Iranian) sites," they wrote.

Thursday's letter was led by Intelligence Committee ranking Democratic member Adam Schiff. The other Democrats to sign on were Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Luis Guttiérrez, Jim Himes, André Carson, Jackie Speier, Eric Swalwell, Anna Eshoo, Jan Schakowsky and Mike Thompson. Pelosi is an ex-officio member of the panel. Eshoo, Schakowsky and Thompson were formerly members of the Intelligence Committee.

The letter comes amid a steady trickle of lawmakers announcing positions on the deal ahead of a mid-September congressional vote whether to reject it. Lobbying on the agreement has hardly slowed in August, even though Congress is out of session for the month-long summer recess.