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Republicans push bill to block Biden easing Iran sanctions

US President Joe Biden in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on March 1, 2021 in Washington, DC [Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images]
US President Joe Biden in Washington, DC on 1 March 2021 [Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images]

US Republican Congressman Michael McCaul and twenty other Republican Members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee have introduced a new bill that would enable Congress to review and, if necessary, block any effort by President Joe Biden to lift American sanctions against Iran.

"The Biden administration has already started making concessions in an apparent attempt to start negotiations with Iran," said McCaul. His bill allows Congress to conduct appropriate oversight of any agreement with Iran that includes sanctions relief. "We have a responsibility to ensure that the American people are getting a better deal than the JCPOA [the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear agreement]."

Senator Bill Hagerty introduced a similar bill in the Senate. "The Iranian regime continues to escalate with missile strikes, armed militants and other forms of aggression in the Middle East as it presses for massive sanctions relief," he claimed.

As many as 140 US Democrat and Republican lawmakers have already called on the Biden administration to renegotiate a more comprehensive deal with Iran. They want a new agreement to restrict Iran's nuclear programme, limit its ballistic missile programme and address the country's "malign behaviour" in the Middle East.

The US has already accepted the European Union's call for direct talks with Iran over its nuclear programme. However, Tehran has rejected the offer, stressing that the US must lift all sanctions before it will engage in any new talks.

READ: Iran's Rouhani: Conditions are right for all parties to rejoin nuclear deal

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