Lawmakers plan last-ditch effort to derail Iran sanctions relief

The board of the International Atomic Energy Agency is expected to close the file on Iran's past nuclear work when it meets Tuesday, clearing the way for Tehran to get relief from international sanctions that have crippled its economy and isolated it from the global financial system.

The Obama administration sees that step as a key milestone in the implementation of its signature foreign policy achievement: a deal to lift the sanctions in exchange for limits on Iran's nuclear program that will last at least 10 years. But critics of the deal see it as one last chance to stop what they see as a multibillion-dollar giveaway to a theocratic state that continues to support terrorism and defy U.N. resolutions, most recently ones barring it from developing advanced, nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.

"Just this week, we learned Iran carried out another test on a ballistic missile — the delivery vehicle for a nuclear warhead — in violation of at least two U.N. resolutions," House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., said Thursday. "Rushing to close this investigation into Iran's past work, with a resolution that Congress and the American people have not seen, will demonstrate to Iran that there are no consequences for its continued obstruction and aggression."

Tehran expects that the board's acceptance of a Dec. 2 IAEA report will close the file on the possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program, even though the report said Iran had experimented with trying to build a nuclear weapon through 2009, later than had been previously thought, and was not as conclusive as many, including U.S. lawmakers, had demanded.

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