U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz go before a Congressional committee again Tuesday as they continue their efforts to get support from skeptical lawmakers reviewing the international nuclear deal with Iran.
John Kerry's cartoon by Alireza Pakdel, Iranian daily Etemaad
Congress has about seven weeks left in its 60-day window to look over the agreement that limits Iran's nuclear program in exchange for relief from damaging economic sanctions. The United Nations Security Council approved the terms last week, setting off a timetable that could see sanctions lifted by the end of the year.
Kerry and Moniz, who met repeatedly with Iranian officials to close the long-sought agreement earlier this month, will testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee along with Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew.
The three secretaries took part in a similar hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week where Kerry said rejecting the deal would be turning away from the best chance to peacefully resolve the issue of Iran's nuclear activity.
President Barack Obama has vowed to veto any congressional rejection measure, meaning both the House and Senate would need to muster two-thirds majorities to override the president and refuse to lift congressionally imposed sanctions.
Those sanctions, along with ones put in place by the United Nations and European Union, came in response to allegations that Iran was using its nuclear technology to pursue nuclear weapons, and have badly hurt the country's economy.
Iran has denied the allegations and insisted the nuclear program is peaceful. It sought sanctions repeal as the main element of the agreement that limits its enrichment activity and subjects its nuclear sites to enhanced U.N. monitoring.
Ahead of Tuesday's hearing, Representative Ed Royce, the committee's chairman, said the agreement has "shortcomings and demands the closest scrutiny."
Representative Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the committee, said he had "serious questions and concerns" and that input from the administration officials would be critical to the review process.
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