Iran Deal Faces Test in Congress
July 14, 2015
Barack Obama’s Iran deal will face a moment of truth in Congress within the
next three months, but seems very likely to clear that hurdle.
the law Congress passed to ensure its review of any Iran deal, opponents of the
deal have to be able to override a veto on a disapproval resolution to stop
it from going into effect. That’s a tall order, with 290 House votes and 67 in
the Senate needed to assure an override.
60-day review period begins once all of the paperwork gets submitted to
Congress, per a statement from Sen. Bob
Corker, R-Tenn. That delay would be extended by up to 12 days if the
House and Senate send a joint resolution to the president, and Congress would
have 10 more days after that to consider an override.
bottom line: Unless Democrats
abandon the president wholesale, the deal will stick.
administration is already declaring any congressional effort that would block
the deal pointless because the world coalition would not hold together to
maintain sanctions on Iran.
senior administration official said a vote to kill the deal is, in effect, “a
vote to kill the sanctions regime” as a result.
the review period, Obama can waive the sanctions on his own — and other
sanctions can be waived via the United Nations Security Council, which has
imposed a host of sanctions over the past decade aimed at Iran’s nuclear
the president, it’s a moment that his administration has been hoping for since
the beginning — a signature diplomatic achievement that validates, in the
administration’s view, the use of diplomatic power, and his oft-repeated line
during the 2008 campaign that the United States should never be afraid of
talking to its enemies.
pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off, and the inspection and transparency
regime necessary to verify that objective will be put in place,” Obama said. (Read
the full transcript here.) “Because of this deal, Iran will not
produce the highly enriched uranium and weapons-grade plutonium that form the
raw materials necessary for a nuclear bomb.”
98 percent reduction in Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium takes it from
having enough material to make 10 nuclear bombs to a fraction of one bomb, Obama
said, in a limit that will last for 15 years.
also touted a permanent inspections regime that will give far broader access to
Iran’s nuclear program — Obama said they will have access to wherever they
need to go when they need it — to prevent another round of cheating.
on the key question raised in recent days by Senate Democrats and even Joint
Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey — maintaining the arms embargo
including an embargo on Iran’s ballistic missile program — administration
officials said the deal would maintain each for a period of time as Iran shows
it is complying with the overall regime.
arms embargo would last for another five years and the ballistic missile embargo
would last another eight years.
to fight the deal with Iran have been underway for months, of course, with many
in Congress — and some allies of Israel in particular — upset over any
continuing of a nuclear program by Iran, even one with a dramatically reduced
stockpile of uranium and inspectors watching every stage of the process needed
to mine, process and enrich uranium or plutonium — two of the pathways for
building a bomb.
biggest effect of the deal on American politics could end up being its
impact on the Republican presidential primary, with many of the candidates
saying they would ratchet up sanctions on Iran, not waive them. But by then
the global sanctions regime implemented over the past decade will have been
dismantled — although under threat of being restored if Iran is caught
cheating on the deal.
The White House has already suggested repeatedly that opposing the deal is akin to supporting another war in the Middle East.