U.S. Seeks a Congress-approved Deal With Iran, Says Trump Envoy

The Trump administration has long argued that one of the flaws of the deal agreed under Barack Obama is that it wasn't formally ratified by Congress

Brian Hook, U.S. Special Representative for Iran, attends an interview at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, June 27, 2019.
\ PHILIPPE WOJAZER/ REUTERS

The United States is seeking a Congress-approved agreement with Iran to replace the 2015 nuclear deal that President Donald Trump abandoned last year, the U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook told Al-Jazeera satellite television network.

The Trump administration has long argued that one of the flaws of the deal agreed under Trump's predecessor Barack Obama is that it was not formally ratified by the U.S. Congress.

The United States may impose fresh sanctions on Iran, Hook also said, according to Twitter posts from Al Jazeera. He said the Gulf Arab states could be more effective in confronting Iran if they were united.

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The Trump administration has been locked in a heated political battle with congressional Democrats who control the U.S. House of Representatives in what many critics are calling a Constitutional crisis. Numerous current and former associates of Trump have refused to cooperate with Democratic-led congressional investigations of the Republican president and his business interests. 

Trump has also been at odds with the Congress over his support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and arms sales to Saudi Arabia, both of which have led to votes rebuking Trump policy. 

Saving the deal

Iran welcomes France's efforts to save the 2015 nuclear deal, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday as French President Emmanuel Macron's top diplomatic adviser visited Tehran for talks to help ease the crisis.

Iran threatened on Monday to restart deactivated centrifuges and ramp up enrichment of uranium to 20% purity in a move away from the nuclear accord.

Tehran has been pushing the European signatories to the accord to protect Iran from U.S. sanctions, which Washington re-imposed after leaving the pact last year.

Iran's state news agency IRNA reported that Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi "welcomed France's role in reducing tension and implementing the accord."

"The French are part of efforts ... to keep the nuclear deal alive," Mousavi was quoted as saying during the visit by Emmanuel Bonne, Macron's top diplomatic adviser.