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BY: Adam Kredo
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered a harsh rebuke of hardline Republican members of Congress who he accused of "grandstanding" on the issue of Iran as they seek to push the State Department to end a series of sanctions waivers packages that have permitted Iran to engage in sensitive nuclear work and continue its lucrative oil trade.
Pompeo - Pressure - Weeks - Waivers - Washington
Pompeo has found himself under increasing pressure in recent weeks to end these waivers, which the Washington Free Beacon has reported are the source of much animosity on Capitol Hill among Iran hawks who feel the State Department is failing to enforce President Donald Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign on Tehran.
The battle has pit Iran hawks on Capitol Hill and their allies within the administration firmly against the State Department, which has not yet committed to rolling back the oil and nuclear waivers.
Fight - View - Time - Week - Sen
The behind-the-scenes fight spilled into public view for the first time last week, when Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) engaged in a testy back and forth with Pompeo over the waivers during a public hearing.
Since then, Republican leaders in both the House and Senate have sent formal letters to the State Department demanding the waivers be nixed when they come up for renewal in May.
Dispute - Briefing - Reporters - Pompeo - Lawmakers
Asked about the dispute during a briefing with reporters, Pompeo accused anti-Iran lawmakers of "grandstanding" on the issue and of not fully understanding the complexity of the waivers issue.
"It's ludicrous. It's ludicrous," Pompeo said, when asked to respond to accusations his State Department is going soft on Iran, against both the White House and Congress's wishes.
People - Stories - People - Newspapers - Pompeo
"Look, people want to tell stories, people want to sell newspapers. I've got it," Pompeo said. "Congressmen will grandstand, I've got that too."
"The State Department's going to get it right," Pompeo maintained. "We understand our mission. Our mission from the president...
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