Germany Says Decision on Iran ‘Likely’ in Coming Weeks as US Debate Heats Up

The US congress isn't happy about being shut out of Iran talks. US Capitol building. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The US congress isn’t happy about being shut out of Iran talks. US Capitol building. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock as

A member of the six major nations negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran believes that a decision regarding an agreement is “likely” coming soon. The comment from German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and released by his office was another indication the sides are gearing up to meet a self-imposed goal of reaching some type of arrangement by the end of the month.

Steinmeier, emphasizing the importance of a trip to the US, said in the statement, “Close transatlantic coordination is more important than ever. That applies to issues relating to Iran’s nuclear program, on which historic decisions are likely to be made in the coming weeks.” He did not clarify further. This expectation comes as internal tensions and disagreements over a potential Iran nuclear deal are at an all-time high.

The latest round of internal diplomacy was fired by 47 Republican US senators that signed an open letter to Iran warning that if Congress is not involved in a nuclear deal, it could be altered or revoked by the US later. The letter comes as members of Congress are pushing for the White House give them the opportunity to review and potentially reject any deal with Iran before it is finalized.

“We will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and [Iranian leader] Ayatollah Khamenei,” said the letter, a copy of which was posted to Senator Tom Cotton’s website.

“The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time. We hope this letter enriches your knowledge of our constitutional system and promotes mutual understanding and clarity as nuclear negotiations progress.”

The Obama administration lashed out in response to the letter. On Monday, Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz was quoted on the White House website as saying, “We feel like that letter was reckless, was irresponsible, was misguided, was a partisan attempt to undermine the President’s ability to negotiate with a foreign government.”

The back and forth, which the New York Post newspaper reported has only escalated since the letter was sent out, highlights the pressure all sides are feeling ahead of the Iran deal deadline. And that’s just in the US.

(By Joshua Spurlock,, March 11, 2015)

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