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Sens. Jim Risch and Bob Menendez in December 2019. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A group of 43 senators led by Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) urged President Biden in a letter Thursday to use "the full force of our diplomatic and economic tools" to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Why it matters: The letter outlines actions the Biden administration can take to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions that will garner bipartisan support in Congress, including an agreement with U.S. allies and the United Nations that prevents Iran from producing such weapons.

Between the lines: While the senators admitted in the letter that they have differing views on the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and the Trump administration's maximum pressure campaign against the country, they agreed that Iran has recently accelerated its nuclear activity and poses a threat to the U.S. and international stability through its arms exports.

  • “Democrats and Republicans may have tactical differences, but we are united on preventing an Iranian nuclear weapon and addressing the wide range of illicit Iranian behavior,” the senators wrote.

What they're saying: "Looking ahead, we strongly believe that you should use the full force of our diplomatic and economic tools in concert with our allies on the United Nations Security Council and in the region to reach an agreement that prevents Iran from ever acquiring nuclear weapons and meaningfully constrains its destabilizing activity throughout the Middle East and its ballistic missile program," the senators added.

  • "We believe it is critical you consult with our European allies, Israel, and Gulf security partners on a path forward with Iran. The recent Abraham Accords provides hope that our partners and allies can work together to further regional cooperation."

The big picture: Former President Trump abandoned the landmark nuclear agreement in 2018.

  • Iran's leaders indicated in January that they're willing to strike a nuclear agreement with the Biden administration. But Biden said last month that Iran will first have to stop enriching uranium above levels set by the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement before the countries can revive the deal.
  • Iran has said it would not stop enriching uranium until the U.S. lifts its sanctions on the country.
  • Secretary of State Tony Blinken indicated in January that the Biden administration is "a long way" from executing its plan to return to the Iran nuclear deal.
  • Israel has also indirectly criticized the Biden administration's intention to return to the agreement.

Go deeper

Mar 24, 2021 - World

North Korea launches two unidentified projectiles into East Sea

A person watching North Korea leader Kim Jong-un on a television in Seoul, South Korea, in January 2021. Photo: Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

The South Korean military said North Korea fired at least two unidentified projectiles into the East Sea on Thursday local time. Japan's prime minister said the projectiles were ballistic missiles, according to AP.

Driving the news: The latest test comes one day after news broke that the North had tested a short-range cruise missile system last weekend, though U.S. officials described that test as “normal military activity."

2 hours ago - World

In photos: Students evacuated as wildfire burns historic Cape Town buildings

Firefighters try, in vain, to extinguish a fire in the Jagger Library, at the University of Cape Town, after a forest fire came down the foothills of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, on Sunday. Photo: Rodger Bosch/AFP via Getty Images

A massive wildfire spread from the foothills of Table Mountain to the University of Cape Town Sunday, burning historic South African buildings and forcing the evacuation of 4,000 students, per Times Live.

The big picture: Visitors to the Table Mountain National Park and other nearby attractions were also evacuated and several roads including a major highway, were closed. South Africa's oldest working windmill and the university's Jagger Library, which houses SA antiquities, are among the buildings damaged.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

3 killed, 2 wounded overnight in Kenosha bar shooting

Three people died and two others were hospitalized with serious injuries after a gunman entered bar in Kenosha County, Wisconsin, the police department said in a statement on Sunday.

The latest: Officers arrested a "person of interest" Sunday afternoon in connection with the 12:42 a.m. shooting and there's "no threat to the community at this time," per a later police statement.