TEHRAN, Mar. 29 (MNA) – Senior Republican Senator John McCain has responded exclusively to Mehr News questions regarding Iran, 5+1 negotiations and Congressional efforts to impede the agreement.

In response to a number of questions sent to Senator John McCain by Mehr News correspondent, the Republican veteran Congressman has reiterated his accusations against Iran’s nuclear program – however, providing no reasons or documents. McCain has also highlighted Congressional efforts to pass new legislations to mandate administration to provide the Congress with full text and details of a possible agreement with Iran and to impose new sanctions on Iran or prevent Obama administration from easily removing Congressional sanctions against Iran.

Here is the full text of John McCain’s written response to Mehr News:

For many years, Congress has recognized the threat of the Iranian nuclear program and has taken the lead on initiating sanctions. Over time, the economic sanctions imposed on Iran have increased their willingness to negotiate. On November 23, 2013, the Iranian government agreed to halt further expansion of their nuclear program in exchange for temporary sanctions relief and entered into extensive negotiations about a nuclear deal that would outline the final arrangements for a peaceful nuclear program.

Although this agreement could modestly slow Iran's nuclear program, I am concerned by certain elements of the proposed agreement including the continued development of advanced centrifuges capable of producing potential nuclear bomb material at a high rate. I also want to see the military dimensions of the program and their domestic uranium enrichment capacity addressed and resolved responsibly. Furthermore, it appears that this interim deal is only temporary and does not provide a long-term solution to Iran's nuclear ambitions. When this 'comprehensive' agreement expires, Iran will likely resume its nuclear weapons program.

Worse still, it is highly unlikely that any nuclear agreement will curtail Iran's support of terrorism and other malign activities that currently threaten our friends and allies in the Middle East and our own national security interests.

For these reasons, I cosponsored S. 269, the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015. This legislation would impose new sanctions on Iran while negotiations for a final agreement are underway. Furthermore, this legislation provides congressional oversight over any deal and allows for sanctions to be reinstated if a final agreement is not reached or if Iran breaks its commitments and continues to build a nuclear weapon. This legislation was introduced on January 27, 2015 and is currently being considered in the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

I also recently co-sponsored S. 615, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, which provides for congressional review and oversight of agreements relating to Iran's nuclear program. This bipartisan bill would force the President to submit the full text of any agreement to Congress. It would also forbid the Administration from suspending congressional sanctions if Congress determines the agreement does not protect our national security interests.

In addition, I sent a letter to the President, along with Senators Lindsey Graham and Robert Menendez, describing the core principles that should be contained in any comprehensive agreement with Iran on its nuclear program. These requirements will include Iran dismantling enrichment facilities, resolving concerns addressed by U.N. Security Council, and complying with intensive inspections to ensure the Iranian regime is not seeking to develop any nuclear weapons.

The deadline for concluding a comprehensive nuclear agreement was November 24, 2014. This deadline has now been extended by an additional seven months to July 1, 2015. I am concerned that these protracted negotiations have done nothing to halt Iran's nuclear ambitions but have instead drawn the international community into a false sense of security.

Please rest assured that I will continue working with my colleagues in Congress to keep the pressure on the Iranian government to roll back all aspects of its malign activities. I will also be pushing the President to submit to Congress any agreement relating to Iran's nuclear program to ensure that there is proper transparency and accountability to the American people.

Again, thank you for contacting me on this important issue. Please feel free to do so again regarding this or any other matter of concern.


John McCain



News Code 106413

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