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GOP lawmakers cite Ukraine crisis as reason to drop Iran deal

Cruz Iran

WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers on Wednesday urged the Biden administration to walk away from negotiations with Iran over a nuclear deal, emphasizing that it would help Russian President Vladimir Putin by providing “a massive subsidy” to Russia as his military invades Ukraine.

“This Iran deal, if and when it is announced, will be a massive win for Vladimir Putin,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said at a news conference on Wednesday. “Putin will make billions in oil and gas transactions, in nuclear transactions and in weapons transactions.”

Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, said he believes the U.S. should walk away from a deal being negotiated by Russia and Iran, “two of our worst enemies on the planet.”

“This doesn't need to be done right now,” Risch said. “And particularly, it doesn't need to be done when we have the problems going on that we have in the Ukraine. We should walk.”

Republicans have opposed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, since it was first created in 2015 under President Barack Obama. President Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018.

Both Democrats and Republicans have expressed concern about returning to the JCPOA amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., said at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Tuesday that he was also concerned that Russia could benefit financially from a new deal.

However, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland testified before the committee on Tuesday that this may not be an issue that can wait.

“The last thing we need on top of Putin’s bloody war is a nuclear-armed Iran,” she said. “And what we can say in this setting is that nuclear capability of the kind that we don’t want to see could come to Iran in a matter of weeks and months if we don’t get them back into this agreement.”

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