Red. Brad Sherman (D-CA). (UPI Photo/Kevin Dietsch) | License Photo
WASHINGTON, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., said Monday the nuclear deal reached with Iran last weekend lacks the diplomatic muscle to curb Iran's ambitions.
Iran, the European Union and members of the so-called P5+1 -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany -- reached a deal that halts some of Iran's nuclear activity. Under the terms of the deal, Iran can still enrich uranium to less than 5 percent purity but opens itself up to more scrutiny. In return, Iran gets relief from some Westerns sanctions, though President Barack Obama said the toughest measures will remain in place.
Sherman, ranking member of the House Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade Subcommittee, said the deal is flawed. Had lawmakers passed tougher sanctions on Iran earlier this year, negotiators would've had more leverage with Iran, he said.
"The more penalties and the more significant impact on Iran's economy, the more concessions they could have secured," he said in a statement.
His comments were echoed by Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Iran can continue with its nuclear activity but "we are the ones doing the dismantling -- relieving Iran of the sanctions pressure built up over years," he said Saturday.
Obama said last weekend the deal was "just a first step."
Iran and its negotiating partners will spend the next six months finding ways to address comprehensive concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions, the president said.
"If Iran does not fully meet its commitments during this six-month phase, we will turn off the relief, and ratchet up the pressure," Obama said.