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article imageObama agrees to Congressional oversight of Iran nuclear deal

By Nathan Salant     Apr 15, 2015 in World
Washington, D. C. - U.S. President Barack Obama agreed Tuesday that Congress has the power to review any proposed nuclear deal with Iran before any provisions take effect.
The Obama administration appears to have finally conceded the point — despite months of wrangling and veto threats — after Congressional opposition grew strong enough to override the president.
Growing support for a compromise bill proposed by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) was the clincher, Corker said, according to the Reuters news service.
Corker’s proposal would require the White House to submit any proposed agreement with Iran to the Congress for approval at least 30 days in advance and would bar any relaxation of economic sanctions during the consideration period.
"That change occurred only when they saw how many senators were going to vote for this," Corker said Tuesday.
Obama had threatened to veto any action taken by the Congress — now controlled by the opposition Republican Party — to require such a review.
Obama is the leader of the Democratic Party.
The president had been campaigning against the Corker bill, which he said threatened the Iran deal and undermined his constitutional role as commander-in-chief.
But all that appears to have changed Tuesday.
“What we have made clear to Democrats and Republicans in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is that the president would be willing to sign the proposed compromise that is working its way through the committee," Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said.
Corker’s compromise bill would cut Congressional review time from two months to one, and eliminate a requirement that the administration certify that Iran is not supporting any acts of terrorism against the United States.
But the bill still requires the administration to send regular reports to Congress about Iran’s support for terrorism and about its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
The preliminary international agreement with Iran, which was reached April 2, requires Tehran to roll back its nuclear development program and open its facilities to international inspection in exchange for relief from economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations that are said to have seriously damaged Tehran’s once-robust economy.
The final Iran deal is due June 30.
Among the potential pitfalls to a final deal is a new demand from Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that sanctions be lifted immediately after a deal is signed.
European Union officials also say they are worried about the ability of the Obama administration to deliver on its commitments under the agreement, give the opposition from Congress.
Adding to the uncertainty this week was Monday’s announcement by the Russian Federation that it was lifting a self-imposed ban on delivering its S-300 missile-defense system to Iran..
The defensive missiles do not violate current sanctions but Kerry said he would raise U.S. concerns about the sale with Moscow
More about Politics, United States, US, Iran, Sanctions
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