US House in disarray: Iran vote cancelled

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WASHINGTON: Feuding Republican members of the US House of Representatives have abandoned a resolution against the Iran nuclear agreement after blowback from conservatives.

The House was scheduled to vote on Wednesday on the rule for debating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a procedural measure that would have cleared the way for passing the resolution disapproving of the Vienna accord later this week.

But the voting was scrapped after the Republican lawmakers could not secure enough votes to even clear the procedural hurdle in favor of an approach involving votes on three related measures.

Debate and votes were to begin Thursday, but it seems that no legislation opposing the nuclear accord will emerge from Congress this month.

Voting on three measures

The House will vote on a measure that says the Obama administration had violated the law by not turning over all the details of the historic nuclear agreement.

Then, the House would vote on a resolution in support of the nuclear deal, and on another measure that would prevent President Barack Obama from unilaterally lifting congressionally mandated sanctions on Iran.

Conservative lawmakers, led by Representatives Peter Roskam of Illinois and Mike Pompeo of Kansas, decided that they would hold a vote to approve the Iran agreement, instead of the originally planned vote on a resolution disapproving of the nuclear deal.

The measure would force Democrats to assert their support for the nuclear accord and put the House on record as having a majority that opposes the conclusion of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries – the US, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany – in the Austrian capital on July 14.

Under the agreement, Iran has been recognized by the United Nations as a nuclear power and will continue its uranium enrichment program, but some restrictions will be placed on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the removal of sanctions.

“We need to pull every tool out of the toolbox to stop this bad deal,” said Representative Bill Flores, a Republican from Texas.

House Republican leaders have changed tactics hoping that they will bring conservatives on board and keep the House on track to finish voting on the Iran nuclear agreement by Friday. Congress has until September 17 to vote on the nuclear deal.

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