Kerry Asks Congressional Critics Of Iran Deal to Hold Fire

WASHINGTON (AP) -
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, center, arrives to attend a ceremony marking National Nuclear Technology Day, as he is accompanied by head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi, left, and Vice President for science and technology affairs Sorena Sattari, right, in Tehran, Iran, Thursday, April 9, 2015. Rouhani warned that Tehran will not sign on to a final nuclear deal with world powers unless it is predicated on the lifting of economic sanctions imposed on Iran over the controversial nuclear program.  (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, center, arrives to attend a ceremony marking National Nuclear Technology Day, as he is accompanied by head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi, left, and Vice President for science and technology affairs Sorena Sattari, right, in Tehran, Iran, Thursday, April 9, 2015. Rouhani warned that Tehran will not sign on to a final nuclear deal with world powers unless it is predicated on the lifting of economic sanctions imposed on Iran over the controversial nuclear program. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Secretary of State John Kerry is urging congressional opponents of an emerging nuclear deal with Iran to “hold their fire” until they see a final agreement later this year.

Kerry said Sunday that he will brief lawmakers over the next two days as part of the Obama administration’s effort to beat back a move among lawmakers to require congressional approval to ease sanctions on Iran.

The administration should be free to negotiate without interference until the June 30 deadline for a final agreement, Kerry said on CBS. “We’ve earned the right to be able to try and complete this without interference and certainly without partisan politics,” Kerry said.

He will hold private meetings with members of the House on Monday and senators on Tuesday.

Also Tuesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected to debate a bill by Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, the committee chairman, and Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey that would give Congress a say on any deal. Republicans and some Democratic critics of the Iran negotiations are trying to erect obstacles to a deal, while most Democrats are aiming to give negotiators more leeway.

Under the bill as currently written, Obama could unilaterally lift or ease any sanctions that were imposed on Iran through presidential action. But Congress could block the president from providing Iran with any relief from congressional sanctions.

Senators on both sides of the issue have introduced more than 50 amendments to the legislation.