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US Ex-Generals Urge Congress to Reject Iran Nuclear Deal

FILE - In this photo released by the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), the reactor building of Iran's Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant is seen, just outside the port city of Bushehr.

A group of nearly 200 retired, high-ranking American military officials is urging U.S. lawmakers to reject the Iran nuclear deal, arguing it will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

"Removing sanctions on Iran and releasing billions of dollars to its regime over the next ten years is inimical to the security of Israel and the Middle East," said the letter, addressed to leaders in both houses of Congress.

It comes a little more than a week after another letter, sent by 36 retired senior military officers, expressed support for the deal.

"America and our allies, in the Middle East and around the world, will be safer when this agreement is fully implemented," the officers said.

The U.S. Congress has until September 17 to approve or reject the agreement, which lifts international sanctions in exchange for Tehran scaling back and allowing monitoring of its nuclear program.

The pact would also allow for what the Obama administration has defended as a rigid system of inspections to ensure that Iran does not cheat and secretly develop nuclear weapons.

The letter, published by the Washington Post and dated Tuesday, said that inspections process has "no credibility" and that the agreement reached in July is "unverifiable."

"The agreement as constructed does not 'cut off every pathway' for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons," it read. "To the contrary, it actually provides Iran with a legitimate path to doing that simply by abiding by the deal."

Republicans in Congress, and an increasing number of lawmakers in President Barack Obama's Democratic Party, have come out against the deal. President Obama has vowed to veto any rejection of the deal, and appears likely to have enough votes in Congress to sustain that veto.

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