- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Tuesday Congress has an obligation to “vigorously and judiciously” examine the announced deal on Iran’s nuclear program, which Congress will have 60 days to review.

“It is in America’s national security interest that Iran is blocked from ever having a nuclear weapon,” said Sen. Ben Cardin, Maryland Democrat and ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Congress has an obligation to vigorously and judiciously review the deal announced today with a seriousness of purpose.”

“There is no trust when it comes to Iran,” Mr. Cardin added. “In our deliberations we need to ensure the negotiations resulted in a comprehensive, long-lasting, and verifiable outcome that also provides for snap-back of sanctions should Iran deviate from its commitments. Congress faces a solemn charge that I expect will be fulfilled to the best of our abilities and at the highest of standards beginning today.”

President Obama said Tuesday that under the announced deal, which would curb Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, “every pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off.”

Sen. Chris Coons, Delaware Democrat and a member of the foreign relations committee, said he will review details of the deal “promptly,” and that he will only support it if it “prevents every Iranian pathway to develop a nuclear weapons capability.”

Sen. Tim Kaine, Virginia Democrat and another member of the foreign relations committee, applauded the U.S. negotiating team for its hard work and said that Congress must now “give the deal a thorough and independent review to ensure it cuts off all of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon.”

Sen. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat, meanwhile, issued a statement commending negotiators for their efforts and saying that “finding a diplomatic solution will make our country, our allies, and the world a safer place.”

Republicans like Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Tom Cotton of Arkansas predicted that Congress would reject the deal.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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