A group of 33 Senate Republicans are warning that they will try to block a revival of the Iran nuclear deal if President Biden doesn’t present the terms for the agreement to Congress for review and approval.
Led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the Republicans said in a letter to Biden that the president is required by a law passed in 2015 to present Congress with any new “agreement” made with Iran for a 60-day review period. Under the law, Congress could pass a resolution of disapproval that can block the nuclear deal.
If Biden doesn’t submit the agreement to Congress, the Republicans didn’t specify how they would try to block the deal. But the letter pointed out that since the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, isn’t a treaty, it could be torn up by the next administration if a Republican is elected in 2024.
“Any agreement related to Iran’s nuclear program which is not a treaty ratified by the Senate is subject to being reversed, and indeed will likely be torn up in the opening days of the next Presidential administration, as early as January 2025,” the letter reads.
Any nuclear agreement with Iran would never get the two-thirds approval needed in the Senate to become a treaty since virtually all Republicans and some Democrats would oppose it. This has posed a challenge for the US and Iran’s negotiations.
Tehran wants guarantees that the US won’t withdraw from the JCPOA again if it is revived. But President Biden cannot promise that future administrations will stay in the agreement. In earlier negotiations, the previous Iranian government settled for a guarantee that Biden wouldn’t leave the JCPOA during his term, but Biden refused to make the vow.
The JCPOA negotiations in Vienna resumed on Tuesday. Going into the talks, the State Department warned time is running out, but also said an agreement is “in sight.” Iranian officials said progress depends on whether or not the US is willing to lift the necessary sanctions.