Republicans take on Kerry over attempt to reassure Iran

Republican lawmakers have denounced US Secretary of State John Kerry over a letter aimed at assuring Iran that recently devised visa restrictions will not prevent the United States from sticking to its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

On Sunday, Kerry wrote a letter to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, saying the visa changes “will not in any way prevent us from meeting our JCPOA commitments and that we will implement them so as not to interfere with legitimate business interests of Iran.”

His letter followed passing of a law to prohibit entry to dual nationals from Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Sudan, and anyone else who has traveled to those countries in the past five years.

Kerry’s letter, written in an effort to reassure Iran that the administration of President Barack Obama would not allow the law to get in the way of the nuclear accord, brought an expected reaction from the GOP party in the run-up to the 2016 presidential vote.

In a statement to on Monday, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) repeated pro-Israeli rhetoric of the party by positing anti-Iran allegations.

“Instead of bending over backwards to try to placate the Iranian regime, the White House needs to be holding it accountable for its recent missile tests, its continued support for terrorism, and its wrongful imprisonment of Americans,” it read.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) also said in a statement that “it was not and has never been Congress’s intent to allow the Administration to grant a blanket waiver to travelers from Iran in order to facilitate the implementation of the Iran deal.”

Kerry (L) poses with Zarif during a bilateral talk at the United Nations headquarters in New York on September 26, 2015.

Zarif has reacted to the move by describing it as a “negative” signal in the wake of the conclusion of the JCPOA, under which limits will be put on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for, among other things, the removal of all economic and financial sanctions imposed against the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program.

All the Republican candidates have spoken against and vowed to kill the accord, reached in Vienna on July 14 between Iran and the P5+1 that also includes the UK, Russia, China, France, and Germany.

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