Senate committee approves softened bill on Iran nuclear deal

After months of deliberation, the Senate was successful in formulating a bill, albeit after making compromises, that ensures Congressional oversight on the nuclear deal with Iran.   

US Congress

(Konstantin L/Shutterstock)

By: AP and Aryeh Savir, Staff Writer, World Israel News

The United States Congress had vowed to push forward with a bill that would ensure it had oversight on the nuclear deal between the P5+1 powers and Iran, and President Barack Obama had vowed to veto any such bill.

On Tuesday, the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee unanimously approved a compromise version of the measure in a 19-0 vote.

There were a number of changes and compromises before the bill was finally introduced, in order to ensure broad support.

The new version shortens from 60 days to 30 the length of time that Congress could review any final deal. During that time, Obama would be able to lift sanctions on Iran through presidential action but would be blocked from easing sanctions levied by Congress.

The compromise also removes a provision of the bill that forces Obama to certify that Iran has not supported any act of terrorism against the US or its citizens anywhere in the world.

Obama would be required to certify to Congress every 90 days that Iran is complying with the terms of any final agreement, and the president would provide Congress with a series of reports on a range of issues, including terrorism.

“Now that we’ve got the broad outlines of the framework and we’re getting more thorough briefings from the White House, we should be able to review and provide input on the bill responsibly in 30 days or less,” said Senator Chris Coons (D-DL), a member of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee.

“There have been some tweaks,” said Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), chairman of the Committee, who had promoted the congressional legislation. “I’m hopeful that we’re going to be successful.”

The bill now moves to the Senate floor and is likely to be signed into law.

Obama Will Support the Bill

Obama has reportedly agreed to sign legislation giving Congress the right to reject any nuclear agreement with Iran. The White House conveyed the president’s decision shortly before Republicans and Democrats approved the bill.

President Obama. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Obama. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Obama, however, still retains the right to veto the legislation if Congress tries to scuttle an emerging deal with Iran.

“Maybe they saw the handwriting on the wall,” the Republican leader of the House, Speaker John Boehner, said about the White House decision to drop its opposition.

Obama, whose foreign policy legacy would be burnished by a deal with Iran, has been in a standoff for months with lawmakers who say Congress should have a chance to weigh in and remain skeptical that Iran will honor any agreement.

“Despite the things about it that we don’t like, enough substantial changes have been made that the president would be willing to sign it,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

International negotiators have set a June 30 deadline for reaching a final agreement aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting economic sanctions against Tehran, after agreeing on a framework with Iran earlier this month.