A group of 43 Senators sent a letter to President Biden that warned the administration against returning to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.
The letter called on Biden to address not only Iran’s nuclear program but also Tehran’s activity in the Middle East and its ballistic missile program, a common talking point from Iran hawks and opponents of the JCPOA.
The letter reads: “Looking ahead, we strongly believe that you should use the full force of our diplomatic and economic tools in concert with our allies on the United Nations Security Council and in the region to reach an agreement that prevents Iran from ever acquiring nuclear weapons and meaningfully constrains its destabilizing activity throughout the Middle East and its ballistic missile program.”
The letter was led by Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and was backed by the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC. Out of the 43 senators that signed the letter, 13 are Democrats, one is an Independent (Angus King of Maine), and the rest are Republicans.
A similar letter was sent to Biden by House lawmakers. The House letter was more of a bipartisan effort, with 140 lawmakers signing on, 70 Republicans, and 70 Democrats.
Demanding a stricter deal before giving Iran sanctions relief is a non-starter for talks with Tehran. Iranian officials have been clear that they want the original agreement they negotiated in 2015 and have been working to preserve since the US withdrew from the accord in 2018. While President Biden has said he wants to revive the deal, he has not made a sincere effort to do so, and Iran remains under crippling economic sanctions.