(CNN) - After President Barack Obama said he would accept a peaceful nuclear program from Iran, including modest uranium enrichment, U.S. congressmen on the Homeland Security and Intelligence committees agreed Sunday that the concession complicates further negotiations.
"We can envision a comprehensive agreement that involves extraordinary constraints and verification mechanisms and intrusive inspections but permits Iran to have a peaceful nuclear program," Obama said Saturday at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Forum in Washington.
"I wouldn't begin the process by conceding anything on enrichment,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, an Intelligence Committee member, said Sunday, appearing on CNN's "State of the Union."
Rep. Mike McCaul, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, said allowing Iran to continue to enrich uranium as a part of its nuclear program not only violates a U.N. Security Council resolution but also sets a precedent for other countries in the Middle East to start enriching uranium.
The Texas Republican drew a line between failed nuclear talks with North Korea under the George W. Bush administration - which eventually led to Pyongyang reactivating its nuclear power facilities and firing test missiles - with the uncertain outcome of current negotiations with Tehran.
"I don't want to see that same mistake happen in Iran," McCaul said.
McCaul and Schiff split on whether additional sanctions should be pushed in Congress to put pressure on the Iranians to keep up their end of the interim deal.
McCaul said another sanctions bill would provide leverage for the Obama administration as the talks continue.
But Schiff said, should Congress pass another bill, the U.S. could be perceived as dampening the agreement prematurely and risking the alliances of already-reluctant partners in the deal like China and Russia.
"We don't want to be perceived by our partners as the ones that are throttling this agreement before it has a chance to live," he said, but added that sanctions would "fly out of Congress" if Iran should renege on its end of the agreement.
Obama put the odds of success for the comprehensive agreement down the road with Iran at no "more than 50-50." Schiff called that estimate "optimistic."
Last month, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear program in exchange for an easing of sanctions that have crippled the country’s economy. The temporary deal will last six months, but world leaders hope it will pave the way to a long-term guarantee that Iran won't produce nuclear weapons.
Secretary of State John Kerry will testify before members of House and Senate committees this week to urge Congress not to impose new sanctions on Iran.
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