September 12, 2022 | The Hill

Biden may be plotting to keep Congress out of the Iran nuclear deal

September 12, 2022 | The Hill

Biden may be plotting to keep Congress out of the Iran nuclear deal

Excerpt

Negotiators from Iran, the United States and the European Union have once again nearly concluded indirect talks over the “final text” of a nuclear deal. Like the 2015 deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the new deal imposes temporary restrictions on the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for broad sanctions relief.  Though the talks appear to have reached another impasse, they could rapidly conclude in the coming weeks if Iran decides to show flexibility.

As it prepares to market the deal to a skeptical Congress, the Biden administration has hinted that negotiations in Vienna did not result in a new agreement, but merely all sides returning to compliance with the JCPOA. This may seem likely a purely semantic point but may actually be a calculated effort to avoid a congressional vote after a review of the nuclear deal, as required by the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (INARA).

In May, the State Department Special Representative for Iran Rob Malley pledged to submit any prospective agreement with Iran for congressional review. INARA specifies that within five calendar days after reaching any agreement with Iran relating to its nuclear program, the president must transmit the full agreement to Congress. INARA also lays out procedures for congressional review and an expedited process for voting on the deal if Congress so chooses.

Matthew Zweig, former senior advisor at the U.S. State Department’s Office of the Special Representative for Syria Engagement and senior professional staff member at the House Foreign Affairs Committee is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a nonpartisan research institute focused on national security and foreign policy. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewZweig1. Gabriel Noronha is a fellow at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) and previously served as the State Department’s special advisor for Iran from 2019-2021. He also served in the Senate Armed Services Committee from 2017-2019.

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Issues:

Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran Nuclear Nonproliferation