UN vote on Iran nuclear deal irks Congress

Tehran, July 20, IRNA – A US newspaper has commented on the attitude of the US Congress towards Iran’s nuclear deal.

“During the closed-door talks in Vienna on limiting Iran’s nuclear program, Secretary of State John Kerry argued that the United Nations Security Council should not vote on lifting sanctions on Iran until Congress had a chance to review the deal but he ran into a wall of opposition from Iran, Russia and even the United States’ closest European allies, who argued successfully that Security Council action should come first, according to Western officials,’ the New York Times wrote on Monday.

The excerpt of the New Times article reads:

On Sunday, as the Obama administration submitted the Iran nuclear agreement to Congress for what promises to be a raucous 60-day debate, Mr. Kerry and President Obama began grappling with the fallout of that decision, which has complicated their efforts to secure much needed support within their own party.

At least two senior Democrats have joined the Republican leadership in complaining that the Security Council action, expected Monday morning, would pre-empt the congressional debate. Their concern is that it would signal the international community’s intention to dismantle the sanctions — if Iran meets the nuclear terms of the accord — before American lawmakers have had time to vote on it.

Asked if she thought Democratic lawmakers would support the deal, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that “the jury is out.”

Mr. Kerry expressed little sympathy on Sunday for congressional demands that the Security Council delay its vote, insisting that lawmakers will still have ample opportunity to carry out their review.

A provision inserted into the agreement at the behest of American negotiators, he said, stipulates that the deal will not take effect until 90 days after the Security Council formally endorses the accord — giving Congress time for action.

Mr. Kerry, a former senator from Massachusetts, scolded some of his erstwhile colleagues. “It’s presumptuous of some people to suspect that France, Russia, China, Germany, Britain ought to do what the Congress tells them to do,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“They have a right to have a vote” at the United Nations, Mr. Kerry added, referring to his negotiating partners, who include the four other permanent members of the Security Council, plus Germany. “But we prevailed on them to delay the implementation of that vote out of respect for our Congress, so we wouldn’t be jamming them.”

The congressional review, which formally begins on Monday, will focus on an array of contentious issues, including the duration of the agreement, the strength of inspection provisions and the procedures for re-imposing sanctions if the Iranians violate the agreement. Critics have also complained that the lifting of sanctions and the eventual end of an arms embargo will empower Iran to act against American interests around the world.

In response, the White House has stepped up its campaign to argue that a congressional rebuff would bring about the very outcome lawmakers want to avoid: the collapse of sanctions and an Iran on the threshold of having a nuclear weapon.

“If Congress says ‘no’ to this deal, then there will be no restraints on Iran,” Mr. Kerry told “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “There will be no sanctions left. Our friends in this effort will desert us.”

So far that argument has failed to impress Republicans, who have long pressed for tough sanctions and have viewed the idea of the Security Council voting first as an affront to the United States’ role as the ultimate check on Iran.

But some Democrats have also voiced concern that the administration may be trying to box them in by agreeing to swiftly proceed with a Council vote that will reduce the international pressure on Tehran.”