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Two More Congressmen: Obama Wrong on Enrichment

California Democrat Schiff, Texas Republican McCaul, say US should press Iran to give up enrichment.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 12/8/2013, 6:20 PM

Rep. Adam Schiff
Rep. Adam Schiff
Rep. Schiff's website

Two US lawmakers who handle intelligence issues said Sunday that President Barack Obama was wrong to accept a peaceful nuclear program with Iran that would include enrichment privileges. 

“I think the administration has to push for ... a peaceful program without enrichment. I wouldn’t begin the process by conceding anything on enrichment,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said on CNN’s “State of the Union” show. Schiff serves on the House Select Intelligence Committee.

House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) agreed with Schiff.

“I happen to agree with my colleague. If we can have a civilian program without nuclear enrichment, then fine. That’s the goal we both share on both sides of the aisle,” McCaul said on the program.

The statements are at odds from what President Obama described on Saturday at Brookings Institution’s Saban Forum.

"We can envision a comprehensive agreement that involves extraordinary constraints and verification mechanisms and intrusive inspections but that permits Iran to have a peaceful nuclear program," Obama said.

Reps. Schiff and McCaul join a group of congressmen on both sides of the aisle who support a harder line than Obama has been exhibiting, with regard to Iran's nuclear program. Congress may decide to stiffen sanctions against Iran, despite Obama's strong objection to such a move. 

A final deal with no enrichment would not be realistic, Obama said at the Saban Forum, and would only happen in an “ideal world.”