Republicans troubled by ongoing talks to revive Iran nuclear deal: 'Russia should not be at any table'

Iran ‘holding all the cards’ in nuclear talks: Muslim scholar

Muslim scholar Qanta Ahmed on how the Russia-Ukraine conflict complicates Iran nuclear talks.

Republicans are raising alarms about a possible breakthrough to restart the Iran nuclear deal, amid reports that the U.S. and Iran are coming close to restoring the 2015 nuclear agreement.

Negotiations have been ongoing in Vienna for the United States to rejoin the international deal that President Trump pulled out of in 2018. Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China are still part of the deal with Iran and have been trying to salvage it.

Republicans have long been skeptical of the Iran nuclear deal, but say the timing for any restart is particularly troubling given Russia’s involvement during its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., talks about his planned trip to the Ukraine border on March 4, 2022. 
(Fox News Digital)

“Russia should not be at any table with us right now,” Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., told Fox News Digital, adding that he’s “very concerned” about a new deal. “They’re committing egregious acts of terrorism and murder in a free democracy in Ukraine, in Europe right now.”

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., also spoke out against any restart of a deal, calling it “exceedingly dangerous and exceedingly misguided” on the “The Guy Benson Show” on Fox News Radio.

And Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Texas, warned on Twitter that a nuclear deal with Iran could make it “EASIER for the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism to obtain a nuclear weapon.”

The ramped-up concern is following reporting from the Wall Street Journal on March 3 that the U.S. and Iran were closing in on an agreement after weeks of intense negotiations in Vienna involving the U.S. and Iran, and Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China. Officials from both the U.S. and Iran warned that they were still resolving sanctions relief provisions. 

A European diplomat told Fox News on Friday that a new deal is expected within days.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
(Associated Press)

Congressional Republicans say they haven’t been consulted about any deal the Biden administration is negotiating with the help of the Russians. They are pushing for any new agreement to be reviewed by Congress.

The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act passed in 2015 with bipartisan support requires the administration to submit any deal to Congress for review within five days of it being reached.

A group of 33 Republican senators led by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, already pledged last month to do everything in their power to block a new nuclear deal if President Biden doesn’t get Senate approval. 

In addition to Russia’s involvement in the Iran nuclear deal, Fitzpatrick said that the Iranian government “does not operate in good faith” and the U.S. doesn’t even enforce existing agreements. 

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and other members of the Republican Conference leave a luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 24, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Fitzpatrick, who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was referring to the 1994 agreement where Ukraine gave up nuclear weapons after the fall of the Soviet Union in exchange for commitments from Russia and the West to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty. 

“Does anybody think that if Ukraine were the third-largest holder of nuclear weapons that Russia would be invading them right now?” Fitzpatrick said. “Of course not. They gave them up based on our word, based on the commitment that the United States, the UK gave to Ukraine and to Kazakhstan as well. 

“And we’re not upholding our end of the agreement,” Fitzpatrick continued. “So what does that mean for future nuclear anti-proliferation agreements? They’re proceeding down the wrong path on all these fronts.”

Fox News’ Kelly Laco and Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report. 

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