Lawmakers urge Obama to press Iran harder on nukes


WASHINGTON (JTA) – In the wake of Iran’s recent election, a bipartisan group of congressmen is calling on President Obama to increase pressure on Iran to dismantle its nuclear weapons program.

Forty-five lawmakers signed on to the June 28 letter to Obama.

“Our diplomatic goal must be to reach a negotiated settlement in which Iran agrees to verifiably dismantle its nuclear weapons program,” the letter said. “For this outcome to be realized, Iran must face intensifying pressure.”

Among the signers were Reps. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the committee’s ranking member.

The new Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, was perceived to be the most moderate of the candidates, and “while this was not a free and fair election, judged by international standards, its outcome reflected considerable dissatisfaction by the Iranian people with an autocratic and repressive government that has internationally isolated Iran,” the letter noted.

The letter pointed out that “Iran’s election unfortunately has done nothing to suggest a reversal of Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons capacity.” It also noted that Rouhani previously served as his country’s nuclear negotiator and had indicated his support for the program in a post-election news conference.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.



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