Members of Congress justifiably called for President Joe Biden to be upfront and be held accountable with regard to negotiations with Iran after U.S. diplomats held secret meetings in Vienna.
Five House Republicans issued a letter to the president early Wednesday noting the critical juncture the administration’s efforts to reenter the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known as the Iran nuclear deal, had reached as the Iranians had begun ramping up aggression against America targets.
In the letter, exclusively obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney (N.Y.) led her colleagues Maria Elvira Salazar (Fla.), Greg Steube (Fla.) and Ronny Jackson (Texas) from the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Don Bacon (Neb.) from the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations in calling for the administration “to uphold its commitments” toward transparency as they say President Barack Obama had when initiating the JCPOA.
SCOOP: Lawmakers Order Biden Admin to Cease its Secret Negotiations with Iran — Admin refuses to tell American public about the deal it’s negotiating with Tehran https://t.co/XZjrqMBwE8
— Adam Kredo (@Kredo0) April 27, 2022
“Senior officials in your administration have suggested a deal might still be possible,” the legislators noted after addressing a pause in talks, “but have also warned they might need to ‘very quickly consider an alternative path.'”
“To date only closed-door classified briefings have been provided to Congress,” they wrote. “This is a start, but it is not enough. Special Envoy Robert Malley works for the American people, and he should answer to them. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s commitment to an open relationship with Congress is more important and timelier than ever. On behalf of the American people, we therefore urge you to ask these senior officials to appear before a public hearing to provide crucial transparency about your plans and efforts to prevent a nuclear Iran.”
“With uncertainty surrounding the status of the negotiation, the American people have a right to know what their diplomats agreed to in Vienna,” the letter went on, “what alternatives your administration is considering, and how you intend to address the wider range of threats from Iran–including its increasingly dangerous missile and drone programs and taking American hostages.”
Video shows the moment of the attack near the Kurdistan 24 office that caused damage to the Kurdistan 24 building. pic.twitter.com/c0SBSIHRv4
— Kurdistan 24 English (@K24English) March 13, 2022
One such instance occurred in early March when it was reported around a dozen ballistic missiles had been launched from Iran striking near a newly completed United States consulate in Erbil, Iraq. The attack was considered to be retaliation after two members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard had been eliminated by an Israeli strike in Syria.
“While Iran continues to utilize its terrorist proxies…senior administration officials like Rob Malley are dodging questions from Congress and the American people by refusing to appear in public before the Foreign Affairs Committee,” Tenney explained. “Today, I call on President Biden to ensure his administration is transparent with the American people.”
President and CEO of the Jewish Institute for National Security of America Mike Makovsky commended the efforts of the Republican lawmakers in a statement to the Free Beacon.
“A new nuclear agreement with Iran has serious implications for U.S. national security. The administration owes the American people and their representatives in Congress an account of the current state-of-play of negotiations, when it will conclude those talks have failed, and what it will do next to protect the United States and its partners from the Iranian threat,” he said.
The letter concluded by stating, “We call upon your administration to uphold its commitments and testify openly on negotiations in front of the full House Foreign Affairs Committee immediately, before any deal is agreed in Vienna or talks collapse.”
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