0448 GMT November 13, 2019
Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ), two key architects of Iran sanctions, are hoping to include the sanctions legislation as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) ahead of a deadline for a comprehensive nuclear agreement, The Hill newspaper reports.
The senators want to extend the Iranian Sanctions Act of 1996, which is set to expire at the end of 2016, through 2026.
The push to involve the Iran negotiations in the annual military spending bill potentially presents another hurdle for passage of the bill, which was slowed down this week by political fights.
“No agreement is better than a bad agreement, and that is what my concern is ... that we are headed for a bad deal,” said Menendez, who is facing federal corruption charges.
He added that the United States “can’t trust Iran to abide by its agreements.”
Another amendment to the NDAA from Sen. Kirk would require Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to report on how Iran uses money received through sanctions relief.
The Senate voted last month to give Congress the authority to review and vote on any possible final deal with Iran over its nuclear program. President Barack Obama signed the Iran Nuclear Review Act of 2015 on May 22.
Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – Russia, China, France, Britain, and the United States – plus Germany are in talks to narrow their differences by June 30, when a self-imposed deadline for a final deal would take effect.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, who was just discharged from hospital following a cycling accident, voiced confidence Friday that a comprehensive deal could emerge by the end of the month.