Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, planned to force a recorded vote Wednesday on a Biden administration nominee who Cruz says lied to Congress about a new Iran nuclear agreement, The Washington Free Beacon reported.
Barbara Leaf, a veteran Democrat Middle East official, has been nominated to serve as the State Department's assistant secretary for Near Eastern affairs.
Notification sent by Cruz's office to members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) said the senator will force the first recorded congressional vote tied to a new Iran deal, the Free Beacon reported.
The move indicates growing frustration Republicans have with the Biden administration's efforts to skirt congressional review of the new Iran nuclear deal — which is being negotiated in talks led by Russia and China — and keep details secret.
"Leaf was a key player in the Biden administration hiding the details of their new Iran deal from SFRC and Congress more generally — until it was too late to shape it," Cruz's office wrote in an email sent Tuesday to SFRC members, the Free Beacon reported.
"They were working on a weaker 'less for less' agreement since the very beginning of the Biden administration, all the way back in February 2021. They now plan to announce it as a 'take it or leave it' bad deal."
Cruz has blocked Leaf's confirmation since last year due to her refusal to answer questions related to the Iran deal and other aspects of the Biden administration's Middle East policy.
In written testimony to Cruz in September, Leaf said the Biden administration was not seeking a deal with Iran that is separate from the original 2015 accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Leaf added that "there have been no such arrangements, deals, or agreements contemplated to reduce pressure on Iran."
Cruz, however, says Leaf's testimony was meant to prevent SFRC members from knowing what was being negotiated with Iran.
"The Cruz position is that the Biden administration is trying to roll Congress on the Iran deal, and that this is the first time senators will have the chance to vote on the record pushing back," a source told the Free Beacon.
"He says Leaf flat out lied because the Biden administration was desperate to avoid congressional oversight. It's being set up as a vote about whether senators are going to allow themselves to get pushed around."
The United Arab Emirates reportedly was "shocked" that the U.S. was considering removal of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from its terrorist organization list to move talks about re-entering the Iran nuclear deal forward.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Sunday against President Joe Biden's efforts to revive the Iran nuclear deal, calling the deal "catastrophic" and a "dangerous development."
Even leading Democrat senators, such as SFRC Chair Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., are among those wary that the Biden administration's attempts to revive the Iran nuclear deal will result in a weaker agreement.
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