Senate Democrats Introduce Legislation to Strengthen the Iran Deal

The Israel Project

October 2, 2015

Senate Democrats introduced a piece of legislation on Thursday that would enforce the Iran nuclear deal reached in July. The bill, called the Iran Policy Oversight Act of 2015, is sponsored by nine senators, including Sens. Ben Cardin (Md.) and Charles Schumer (N.Y.), both of whom opposed the deal. The senators announced that the “legislation builds upon the bipartisan commitment to oversight outlined in the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 that passed the U.S. Senate 98 to 1.” Sen. Bennet said, “It will strengthen implementation of the nuclear agreement and reiterate our support for Israel. It reiterates that options, including the use of force, remain available to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.” Sen. Blumenthal avowed that the “proposal seeks a regional strategy that pushes back against Iran’s malign, destabilizing influence…I support Congress taking additional steps…to crack down on the growing threat of Hezbollah and other terrorist extremists, and assure that verification and inspection are strictly enforced.”

The legislation envisions deterring Iran from destabilizing the Middle East and its “support for and acts of terrorism” and calls for the administration to submit reports every two years specifying a regional strategy to counter Iran as well as on how Iran has used the funds it has gained through sanctions relief and Iran’s research and development activities. With regard to the funds, Sen. Schumer said, “We need to watch those funds like a hawk, and ensure that they’re not going to fund terror in the Middle East.” It explicitly calls for security assistance for and cooperation with Israel to maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge. An important aspect of the legislation is that it would foresee preserving sanctions on Iran for its human rights violations and the establishment of “expedited procedures for consideration of new terrorism sanctions against Iran” in the event that Iran carries out an attack against the U.S. or “substantially increases its operational or financial support for a terrorist organization that threatens U.S. interests and allies.” It also seeks to clarify how exactly the U.S. would respond in the face of any Iranian violation of the agreement and ensure “effective re-imposition of sanctions.”