Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, today sent a letter to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Robert Menendez (D-Fla.) and Ranking Member Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) urging them to use existing authority to request a report from the Secretary of State on the verifiability of the administration's recent nuclear agreement with Iran. The letter was signed by Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and several other members of the Senate Intelligence, Armed Services and Banking Committees.
"While we all share the goal of a negotiated end to the Iranian nuclear program, I think it is premature to characterize this recent deal as an historic agreement that will freeze or halt Iran's decades-long pursuit of nuclear weapons," said Coats. "Despite a number of UN Security Council Resolutions that call for the immediate suspension of enrichment activity, this agreement provides sanctions relief in exchange for cosmetic concessions and self-imposed limitations on Iran's nuclear program."
"The administration's trust-then-verify policy is backwards," added Coats. "Given the consequences at stake, Congress must exercise strict oversight and demand information to ensure that any agreement with Iran is verifiable and monitored closely to identify and address issues of non-compliance."
Current law states that the chairman or ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee may request a report from the Secretary of State on the verifiability of any arms control, nonproliferation, or disarmament proposal. The senators are urging that the committee request this report and make it available to the Senate Committees on Intelligence, Armed Services, and Banking, all of which maintain important oversight of this issue.
In the letter to Senators Menendez and Corker, the group of eight senators wrote, "Verification and compliance, as well as the fortitude to publicly identify and address non-compliance, represent the foundation of any successful arms control or disarmament agreement. We respectfully urge you to request this verification assessment from the Secretary of State and to make this report available to the Senate Committees on Intelligence, Armed Services, and Banking. Given Iran's history of non-compliance, we believe this is not only a prudent step, but a sensible and necessary element of congressional oversight."
In addition to Senators Chambliss and Inhofe, the Coats letter was signed by Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and David Vitter (R-La.).