William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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MAN BATTLE STATIONS – OVERNIGHT:  HINTS FROM DIPLOMCATIC CIRCLES TELL US THAT A NEW IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL MAY BE NEAR.  THE FEAR AMONG THE SANE PEOPLE IS THAT BIDEN, INFLUENCED BY THE OBAMA FACTION IN HIS ADMINISTRATION, MAY GO FOR A PEACE-AT-ANY-PRICE AGREEMENT, JUST TO PACIFY HIS PARTY'S LEFT.  REPUBLICANS ARE ALREADY INSISTING THAT THEY WILL HAVE NONE OF THIS.  COULD BE A MAJOR BATTLE BREWING.  FROM THE TIMES OF ISRAEL: 

As talks to revive the tattered 2015 nuclear deal restarted in Vienna Tuesday, US President Joe Biden was reminded of another obstacle, this time at home, to a smooth return to the agreement.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) sent a letter dated February 7 to Biden emphasizing that the bipartisan Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act requires the administration to submit within five days any new nuclear agreement to Congressional oversight.

“We are committed to using the full range of options and leverage available to United States Senators to ensure that you meet those obligations, and that the implementation of any agreement will be severely if not terminally hampered if you do not,” read the letter, co-signed by 32 of Cruz’s Republican Senate colleagues.

“The submission of such materials then triggers a statutorily-defined review process, and includes the possibility of Congress blocking implementation of the agreement,” the senators wrote.

The letter also warned that any agreement that is not a Senate-ratified treaty could be reversed by a new president in January 2025.

A treaty, which is far more difficult to pass or rescind than an executive order, is required by the US Constitution to be approved by two-thirds of the Senate, an unlikely scenario in a chamber with 50 GOP senators. The Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), notably, is not a treaty, which enabled former president Donald Trump to unilaterally withdraw from the deal in 2018 without consulting Congress.

President Barack Obama signed INARA into law in May 2015, giving Congress the opportunity to review any nuclear deal with Iran, and prohibiting sanctions relief for the 30-day review period.

“Unless the administration is prepared to defy the statute, its only alternative for avoiding congressional review of its policy will be to unilaterally lift sanctions and trust Iran to reciprocate by coming back into full compliance itself,” explained former assistant secretary of state Stephen Rademaker last year.

In the event that the US and Iran do reach a deal in the coming weeks, INARA would further require Biden to submit certification of Iran’s compliance every 90 days. Without the certification, Republicans in both houses could call floor votes on reimposing sanctions on Iran.

COMMENT:  I have a sense that the Congressional Republicans are dead serious about this.  We really could have a clash between the legislative and executive on the Iran nuclear issue.  Obama accepted an awful agreement in 2015, and excluded Congress by refusing to cast it as a treaty.  The more recent legislation cited in the above article requires at least Congressional review. 

I doubt if we'll get any kind of good deal out of Iran.  Tehran knows it's dealing with a weak American administration, and our negotiating team is led by the same man who led Obama's, the ever-appeasing Robert Malley, a former employee of a guy named George Soros. 

Congress will step forward, an opportunity for Republicans to shine, and point the way ahead in foreign policy. 

There will be nothing boring about 2022.

February 8,  2022