European Envoys Turn to US Congress on Iran Pact

European Envoys Turn to US Congress on Iran PactEuropean Envoys Turn to US Congress on Iran Pact

As US Congress faces a possible figh over the future of Iran's nuclear agreement, European ambassadors and officials from former president Barack Obama's administration are making their case for preserving the pact directly to US lawmakers.

The British, French, German and European Union ambassadors to the United States participated on Wednesday in a meeting on Capitol Hill with Democratic senators organized by the senate's number two Democrat, Richard Durbin, congressional aides and embassy officials told Reuters.

Former undersecretary of state and lead Iran negotiator, Wendy Sherman, also attended and former energy secretary, Ernest Moniz, and treasury secretary, Jack Lew, participated via video link, an aide to Durbin said.

The meeting was part of an ongoing effort by Democrats in Congress and other officials who support the nuclear pact to bolster support for the deal by spelling out the consequences of its collapse, as Republican President Donald Trump faces an Oct. 15 deadline for certifying the agreement or placing its fate in the hands of Congress.

A British Embassy official said Ambassador Kim Darroch was in Congress on Wednesday with his French, German and EU counterparts meeting with both Democrats and Republicans "to provide information on the European position on the JCPOA," using an abbreviation for the nuclear agreement.

An EU embassy spokesman confirmed that EU Ambassador David O'Sullivan and others attended to explain that the deal is a multilateral agreement that is working and that the European Union will do everything it can to ensure it stays in place.

Trump has long criticized the nuclear pact, a signature foreign policy achievement of his predecessor Obama, and signed in 2015 by the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, the European Union and Iran.

Senior White House officials have said Trump is leaning toward a course of action that could lead to the US abandoning the pact, despite apparent disagreement within his administration over whether that is the best way forward.

  Major Loss

The ambassadors have said the deal's demise would be a major loss that could lead to increased enrichment by Iran and weaken international proliferation efforts as the world grapples with a growing nuclear threat from North Korea.

Under the deal, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the suspension of international sanctions. If Trump declines to certify, it could pave the way for Congress to vote to resume those sanctions, which could scuttle the deal.

Some Republicans argue that Trump can decertify because he does not believe the agreement is in the national security interest. That, they said, would increase pressure on Tehran because Congress could threaten to reimpose sanctions if Iran does not agree to a more restrictive deal.

However, in the absence of support for Trump, it would be business as usual between the other signatories and Iran, in which case the nuclear pact survives and the US is isolated.


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