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THE CONSERVATIVE REVIEW - May 19, 2015

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*-- House passes bill requiring Congress approval of Iran nuke deal --*

WASHINGTON (UPI) - The House on Thursday easily approved legislation that will require full congressional approval of any nuclear agreement with Iran, as negotiators try to hammer out a deal before the deadline.

The House voted 400-25 in favor of the bill, which was approved 98-1 by the Senate last week. It will now go to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it.

Under the new legislation, any agreement the United States and Western allies strike with Iran over the regulation of its nuclear program will then go into the approval phase, which allows Congress 30 days to vote on the deal.

During the time Congress considers the agreement, no sanctions against Tehran could be lifted, the bill mandates.

"Once this legislation is signed, when Secretary Kerry sits across from the Iranians, he will now have on his mind, 'I've got to take this to Congress,'" House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce said. "That prospect can only improve these negotiations."

U.S. and Western negotiators, called the 5+1, struck an agreement with Iran in April on the framework of a deal. Both sides continue to try and reach an accord before the June 30 deadline, but some are skeptical that can be accomplished.

Since the announcement of the framework consensus, officials in both the U.S. and Iranian governments have made statements that cast doubt over what has been agreed upon.

Iranian officials, for instance, have said any deal will require the immediate lifting of sanctions against Tehran -- while U.S. negotiators favor a phase out of the sanctions over time, so it can be verified that Iran is holding up its end of the agreement.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei further threw an agreement into question when he said Tehran will not allow any independent nuclear regulators onto his nation's military bases -- which inspectors may wish to visit.

Six Democrats and 19 Republicans voted against Thursday's measure, which was put on a fast track typically reserved for unopposed legislation.

"It is unconscionable for Congress to grant such sweeping power to President Obama, allowing him to lift sanctions on Iran, no matter the cost to our national security, the security of Israel, and the entire world," Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., said. "Even worse, the House is willing to do this today without having even one hearing, one amendment, a grand total of 40 minutes of debate."

Senate Republicans caused some outrage within the Obama administration and other corners of government when it wrote an open letter to Iran, effectively warning it that any deal without Congress approval could be scrapped entirely once Obama leaves office in 2017.

"I just hope it's not too late and we aren't too deep into a bad deal," Royce, R-Calif., said.

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