U.S. senators call for a tougher stance on Iran's nuclear weapons
A group of U.S. senators have urged President Barack Obama to take a firm stance on Iran amid ongoing nuclear negotiations.
The Saturday letter from 22 Democratic senators and one independent hailed Obama’s two-track approach to Iran, which incorporates both sanctions and negotiations.
The letter, issued from the office of Senator Carl Levin, called for tough procedures of transparency and verification, which guarantee non-diversion in Iran’s nuclear energy program.
The majority of the 23 senators had declined to sign another letter issued by 83 of their colleagues earlier this week.
That letter, initiated by Democrat Senator Robert Menendez, insisted that any final nuclear agreement with Iran must stipulate that Tehran “has no inherent right to enrichment under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.”
Iran has repeatedly said that its enrichment rights are non-negotiable.
Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – Russia, China, France, Britain and the United States -- plus Germany wrapped up their latest round of high-level nuclear talks in the Austrian capital of Vienna on March 19.
At the end of the talks, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who led the Iranian delegation, said the discussions covered “very serious issues in serious detail,” but more time is needed before starting to draft a final deal.
The talks between Tehran and the six countries are part of efforts to hammer out a comprehensive deal following the interim Geneva accord of November 2013.
The next round of negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 will be held on April 7-9.