Obama does not need Congress approval on the Iran deal because nuclear negotiations were handled as an ‘executive agreement’ which, unlike treaties, do not require congressional approval.
Top diplomats from Iran, the U.S. and other world powers plan to sign off on a nuclear deal today and publicly announce the deal, officials from both sides said, after struggling to resolve a late standoff over when and how to lift a United Nations arms embargo.
The Wall Street Journal reported:
The accord has one main text and five detailed annexes and totals about 100 pages. U.S. and Iranian officials said there are agreements to cap Iran’s stockpile of nuclear fuel, significantly reduce the number of centrifuge machines Tehran uses to enrich uranium, and to reduce the amount of plutonium produced by an Iranian reactor.
Washington and Tehran have also agreed to increase the access for U.N. inspectors of Iran’s nuclear sites, with provisions for them to visit military sites and interview Iranian scientists. The U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, will be tasked with submitting a report by year-end documenting Iran’s alleged past efforts to covertly develop nuclear weapons technologies.
Critics of the White House’s Iran strategy warned that any steps to loosen the arms embargo would only stiffen opposition to any eventual agreement on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers have argued it would further fuel tensions in the Middle East and enhance Iran’s ability to support its allies in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.
“The agreement is set to blow an irreparable hole in the international sanctions regime, easing the U.N. arms embargo while also giving Iran back as much as $160 billion in frozen assets,” said Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.). “If the administration cannot say ‘no’ to an Iran deal with bad terms, then Congress must act.”
A 2010 U.N. Security Council resolution prohibited member countries from selling conventional arms to Iran, including heavy weapons such as tanks, combat aircraft and missile launchers. An earlier resolution banned member states from buying or receiving arms from Iran.
Iranian negotiators are demanding an immediate repeal of the ban on arms sales to their country as well as a prohibition on Tehran’s ballistic-missile program.
U.S. officials have made clear in recent days that it isn’t a matter of whether the arms embargo and ballistic-missile ban will be lifted, but when. They are pushing for significant restrictions to remain in place for several years, until Tehran meets the Security Council’s stringent conditions.
“That’s what we’ve been negotiating the last few days…[the] duration of those powers,” a senior administration official said on Monday.
As part of a comprehensive nuclear agreement, Security Council resolutions imposed on Iran for its nuclear program would be terminated, said U.S., Iranian and European officials involved in the Vienna talks.
The wording of a new resolution to time the scaling back of the arms and missile restrictions has been among the final details to be completed in Vienna, said these officials.
“Iran argues that since they are addressing the concerns of the international community over the nuclear program…then those sanctions should be suspended at the same time as the nuclear-related sanctions,” said the senior U.S. official. “Our point is that they need to remain in place for a period of time—longer preferably—because of Iran’s activities and because Iran has to earn relief.”
U.S. officials wouldn’t detail the conditions Iran would need to meet to have the arms restrictions lifted.
Delegates from Iran and a group of six nations led by the United States in Vienna on Tuesday after agreeing to an accord to significantly limit Tehran’s nuclear ability. (Credit Pool photo by Carlos Barria)
The accord is expected to face fierce opposition from Republicans in the U.S. Congress, as well as from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a longstanding critic of the negotiations.
“From the initial reports we can already conclude that this agreement is a historic mistake for the world,” Netanyahu said Tuesday. “Far-reaching concessions have been made in all areas that were supposed to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capability.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Twitter that the deal shows that “constructive engagement works.”
“With this unnecessary crisis resolved, new horizons emerge with a focus on shared challenges,” he tweeted.
Brit Hume on Fox News: Why Obama doesn’t need to sell Iran deal to Congress.
Photo courtesy of Google