DENVER (AP) – Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado said Monday that he has serious reservations about a planned multinational agreement with Iran over its nuclear program and that Congress should vote on whether to approve the deal.
The framework agreement announced last week by U.S.-led world powers outlines a program to limit Iran’s ability to produce nuclear weapons and lift international sanctions.
Gardner, who returned from a weeklong trip to five Middle East nations with other members of Congress, said he is concerned the deal leaves Iran with too much infrastructure that could be used to build a nuclear weapon.
“There is no sense in making a bad deal for the sake of a deal,” he said in a conference call with reporters. “This needs congressional approval so we can protect the American people from a bad deal.”
President Barack Obama has said he has the right to enter into binding agreements with other nations without congressional approval.
Gardner, a freshman, was one of 47 Republican senators who signed a letter to Iran’s leaders in March warning any nuclear deal they make with Obama could expire when he leaves office.
Gardner is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which will meet April 14 to consider a bill that would require the president to send Congress the text of the deal within five days of a final agreement.
He was part of a delegation led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, that visited Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Jordan and Kuwait as well as the United Kingdom.
In other comments on the conference call, Gardner commended Obama for working to prolong the U.S. military’s presence in Afghanistan to preserve progress made there. He met with military members from Colorado serving in Afghanistan.
He also said the efforts to push back fighters with the Islamic State group in Iraq are working.
Gardner said he spoke with Israeli officials about lifting tariffs on beef to improve Colorado exports.
– By Dan Elliott, AP Writer
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