Congress Should Resist Temptation to Ruin Nuclear Deal

Congress Should Resist Temptation  to Ruin Nuclear Deal Congress Should Resist Temptation  to Ruin Nuclear Deal

A former US lawmaker advised his colleagues in Congress to resist the temptation to sacrifice the possibility of "a very important and constructive agreement with Iran" over Tehran's nuclear program for short-term political gains.

Jim Slattery, who represented Kansas at the US House of Representatives from 1983 to 1995, told Al-Monitor on Friday that "There will be domestic forces in the United States that will not want to see an agreement."  

"I think you can hear some messaging has already started that would have us believe Obama is selling out Israel," Slattery said. "I think that is false."

"I just think we need to pursue all diplomatic options," he stated. "We have made tremendous progress."

The lawmaker was referring to efforts by Republicans and some Democrats at the US Congress to adopt new sanctions bills to get Iran to agree to a deal that would halt its alleged pursuit of the capability to develop nuclear weapons.

Iran denies its nuclear program may have any military objectives, saying the work is solely for peaceful applications, such electricity generation.

He made the remarks following a visit to Iran last month to take part in the international conference of "World Against Violence and Extremism" (WAVE) where he met with several high-level Iranian officials. The Topeka Capital-Journal first reported on his trip on January one.  

"They all said (Iranian officials), the window of opportunity" for a nuclear deal "is open, but it will not stay open forever," Slattery told Al-Monitor. Regarding the officials he met with, "I think…really many of them have perhaps bet their political careers on getting agreement on this nuclear issue."

In addition, the former lawmaker said "I believe we have a historic opportunity… I believe the leadership in Iran and the US ...all want to pursue a negotiated resolution of this problem around the nuclear issue, and I believe a deal is reachable."