In a move that's likely to strain already tense relations with Iran, the House Foreign Affairs Committee announced Wednesday a series of hearings on the Islamic republic's nuclear ambitions and the Obama administration’s negotiations with the country.
The first hearing, titled "Verifying Iran's Nuclear Compliance," will be held on Tuesday.
In November, the United States and five other countries — the United Kingdom, China, Germany, France and Russia — agreed to lift some sanctions on Iran if its government suspended some nuclear activities. Under that agreement, member countries agreed to end all sanctions on Iran if they could verify an end to nuclear activities by July 20.
With that deadline looming, the Foreign Affairs committee wants to know how the administration plans to ensure Iran is making good on its side of the deal.
“Given Iran’s long record of deception, any nuclear agreement in which we cannot completely verify compliance would be an open invitation for Tehran to continue its secret nuclear weapons program, forcing the world to live with the permanent threat of a nuclear-armed Iran," Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce said in a statement Wednesday. The California Republican continued that the committee would examine the requirements needed for the United States and international inspectors to "comprehensively verify Iran’s compliance with its nuclear commitments.”
The Iranian nuclear negotiations are not a new topic to the Foreign Affairs panel. The committee has held a number of hearings on Iran, including a Dec. 10 hearing with Secretary of State John Kerry on how the deal furthered U.S. interests.