49 Republican Senators Will Oppose Iran Nuclear Deal

Opposition comes in spite of details not being public on the deal

In a sign that getting the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran through Congress might by difficult, if not impossible, 49 out of 50 Republican Senators have announced they will not back any deal that doesn’t limit Iran’s missile program and “confront Iran’s support for terrorism.”

The deal isn’t intended to cover those issues, merely Iran’s civilian nuclear program. The terms are not public, but its not expected to touch on either issue. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was the only senator to not come out opposed.

Sen. Paul said it didn’t make sense to condemn an unfinished deal, saying it is “not a very thoughtful position.” It is unclear where Senate Democrats will fall on the deal.

Either way, reports noted that the nuclear deal survived Congress in 2015 despite overwhelming Republican objection and their control of the Senate. Now, they don’t control the body at all, so any attempt to block it outright is going to depend on support from Democrats.

How this will ultimately break down likely depends on if and when the deal is finalized, and what efforts the Biden Administration makes to sell the plan.

The Iran side of the deal promises to get more Iranian oil onto the global market, and potentially the US market too. With prices up on the Russia-Ukraine war, that could be a strong incentive.

At the same time, there are questions about how the deal will reconcile Iran sanctions relief and Russian responsibilities with new Russia sanctions. The US has said they won’t interfere, but has also demanded Russia stop asking for consultations on how the two deals won’t interfere. The US has threatened to leave the talks, and work out a bilateral deal without Russia.

Though it’s not clear this is related to that, an alternative track for the deal could give Biden more time to get support, and a new selling point in that they are spiting Russia.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.