Senate Democrats want Iran nuclear info from White House: aides

Reuters – As Congress faces a possible fight over the future of the Iran nuclear agreement, seven senior Senate Democrats demanded on Wednesday that the Trump administration provide lawmakers with any information showing Tehran is not complying with the international pact.

In a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and other cabinet officials seen by Reuters, the lawmakers said the administration has not provided any such information, as it is required to do under the 2015 Iran Nuclear Review Act.

Republican President Donald Trump has long criticized the nuclear agreement, one of the signature foreign policy achievements of his Democratic predecessor, former President Barack Obama.

In a speech at the United Nations on Tuesday, Trump blasted the deal reached by the United States, five other world powers and Iran, known as the JCPOA. He called it an “embarrassment to the United States.”

Trump is currently facing a mid-October deadline for certifying whether Iran is still complying with the JCPOA, in which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

On Wednesday, Trump said he had made his decision about whether he would recertify the agreement but would not reveal it.

If Trump does not recertify, it could force Congress to decide whether to lift sanctions waived under the agreement.

“(The 2015 review act) requires the President to provide information to Congress on any potentially significant Iranian breach or compliance concern related to the JCPOA within ten calendar days of receiving the information,” the letter said.

“To date, the Senate has received no such notification and the Administration has provided little public testimony to Congress on the status of Iranian compliance with the agreement,” it said.

The letter asks the administration to provide a written report and, where appropriate, public testimony to Senate committees, before Oct. 6, if it is aware of any information suggesting Iran is not complying with the nuclear agreement or that would lead Trump to conclude that the continued suspension of sanctions is not in the U.S. national security interest.

The letter to Tillerson, Mattis, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats was signed by Senators Sherrod Brown, Maria Cantwell, Ben Cardin, Richard Durbin, Patrick Leahy, Jack Reed and Mark Warner.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Cynthia Osterman