354 House members urge Kerry to press Iran on inspections


WASHINGTON (JTA) — More than three-fourths of the House of Representatives wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry to say that Iran must fully cooperate with nuclear inspectors.

“We believe that Iran’s willingness to fully reveal all aspects of its nuclear program is a fundamental test of Iran’s intention to uphold a comprehensive agreement,” 354 Congress members wrote in the Oct. 1 letter.

They referred to nuclear talks now underway between Iran and the major powers, including United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. The talks have a Nov. 24 deadline.

“Accurate predictions of the period of time needed by Iran to assemble a weapon and assessments of Iran’s compliance cannot be made without highly reliable information obtained from an unrestricted inspection and verification regime,” said the letter, which was spearheaded by Reps. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the committee’s ranking member.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has sought information on the “potential military dimensions” of the Iranian nuclear program, including Iran’s development of a nuclear bomb. However, the IAEA has stated that Iran has failed to meet deadlines and has even continued work at the Parchin military base, according to the letter.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee praised the letter.

“The overwhelmingly bipartisan support for this letter reflects Congress’ determination to ensure that any agreement with Iran must prevent Tehran from attaining a nuclear weapons capability,” AIPAC said in a statement.

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