Concerns over Iran nuclear agreement on the rise

Foreign Policy
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 6/18/15, 05:00 pm

WASHINGTON—As the Obama administration continues to deliberate its nuclear agreement with Iran, some lawmakers from the House Committee on Foreign Affairs expressed concern about whether the Islamic nation’s leaders will abide by the provisions. 

The agreement set up in April stipulates Iran will get rid of about 98 percent of its stockpile of uranium, retaining only 300 kilograms. In return, the country will receive substantial sanctions relief.

“Given all we know about the history of Iran’s nuclear program, cheating should be expected,” said U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, R- Calif., chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. If that happens, the United Nations sanctions could fall back into place.

Less than two hours into the hearing, authorities received notice of a possible “threat” and evacuated the room to search. After police found nothing, the hearing continued 20 minutes later.

Debate over the nuclear agreement continues despite mutually strained relations between America and Iran. Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the UN, said the present Iranian regime is engaged in terrorism and human rights violations, all factors considered while drafting the agreement. She said the UN is taking extensive measures to ensure Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful.

The UN, which plays an active role in the agreement, also has a strained relationship with the United States. House members complained to Power during the hearing about the lack of information filtering over to Congress about the agreement.

“If there’s shortage of insight on how we’re looking into this, that’s something I’m willing to provide,” she replied.

As a permanent member of the UN, the United States contributes more than 20 percent of the international body’s budget. But, said Rep. Curt Clawson, R-Fla., America doesn’t get a proportional amount of leverage: “There’s something wrong with this picture.”

Despite this, Power said a union between the UN and America is crucial to tackling global issues, including Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

“The combination of unilateral and multilateral pressure was crucial,” she said.

Onize Ohikere

Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.

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