“Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act” Seeks to Prevent Iran Deal

S.615 – the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA), was authored by Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).  Corker chairs the  Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Menendez is former Chair and now the Ranking Member.

INARA is an updated version of Corker’s “Iran Nuclear Negotiations Act of 2014” introduced in the prior Congress with only Republican cosponsorship, and offered unsuccessfully as an amendment to the US-Israel Strategic Partnership Act.  The current measure has attracted the Ranking Member and four other Democrats as original cosponsors.

In a March 3rd press release, Corker identified as key provisions: “The president is prohibited from suspending, waiving or otherwise reducing congressional sanctions for 60 days.

“Passage of a joint resolution of disapproval [requiring a two-thirds vote of the Senate] within the 60-day period would block the president from implementing congressional sanctions relief under the agreement.”

The Arms Control Association has said of S.615 that it “raises more questions—and problems—than its answers… [it] would put the comprehensive agreement, as well as the interim agreement, in a state of legal and political limbo that could lead to the unraveling of the historic diplomatic opportunity to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.”

INARA is designed to block implementation of any agreement between Iran and the P5+1 until (1) a complex and highly technical nonproliferation analysis is completed by the executive branch, including US intelligence agencies; and (2) an extended period of Congressional review is concluded.  This would delay sanctions relief for at least 3 months in the view of arms control experts who have studied the bill.

“The approach being pursued by Senator Corker would leave the United States with no credible “Plan B” to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

“Additionally, if the United States is seen as causing the deal to collapse, international support for the sanctions regime that was critical to bringing Iran to the negotiating table will erode.”

Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, and

Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, The Arms Control Association

“Under this legislation, Congress would delay the implementation of any nuclear deal reached with Iran while deciding whether to permanently remove the President’s powers to execute a deal… [thus] signaling that the U.S. may fail to meet its commitments should a nuclear deal be reached…

“Moreover, this bill contains poison pills that could cause the U.S. to violate a deal after it takes effect. It would require the President to make certifications as to Iran’s behavior that go beyond the scope of any nuclear deal. If the President fails to make these certifications, then an expedited process is set up for Congress to re-impose all the sanctions on Iran.”

National Iranian American Council (NIAC)
more at http://bit.ly/NIAC_on_S615

Note:  Following Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to advance floor consideration of S. 615 over the objection of Democratic Sen. Menendez, a replacement measure with identical language was introduced on March 3rd as S. 625.

*Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky