With the US Congressional approval of the nuclear deal on Iran still pending, experts mull over possible implications of the vote on the US clout in the world.
MOSCOW (Sputnik), Anastasia Levchenko — The Republican-controlled Congress has until mid-September to approve or disapprove the nuclear deal reached by the P5+1 group of countries comprising the United States, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom plus Germany and Iran in mid-July after decade-long negotiations.
DECLINING US AUTHORITY
If the Congress fails to approve the nuclear deal on Iran, the United States will most likely lose its influence on allies around the world and stay on the sidelines of invigorating trade relations in Eurasia, experts say.
“If the deal is rejected by the US, the way to go is further Eurasia integration, with Iran an active part of it, and less and less Eurasia-wide trading involving the US dollar, which is a process already in motion anyway,” Pepe Escobar, analyst on Iranian issues and contributor for Asia Times and a number of other outlets, told Sputnik on Wednesday.
European allies of the United States already consider the deal as fait accompli, and are actively preparing to do major business in and with Iran, the expert noted. Therefore, sanctions maintained unilaterally by Washington will never be taken seriously and never be followed by Brussels.
According to Escobar, Europe has already lost faith in sanctions as an efficient political instrument, so widely used by the US authorities. Europeans saw in the cases of Cuba, Russia and Iran that sanctions, as a weapon of US choice, backfire.
“In the case of Iran, what they want now is business,” Escobar said.
Moreover, declining of the deal by the United States may have an effect on other aspects of the US foreign policy. For example, Washington may lose the European bloc as a partner in the ongoing economic crisis, Gareth Porter, a historian and author who has extensively written about Iran-related issues, told Sputnik.
“It [defeat of the nuclear deal] would certainly lead to some reduction in US diplomatic influence over European policy, so some effect on European policy toward Ukraine might be a logical consequence,” Porter said.
On Tuesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said during a news conference that a possible congressional refusal of the Iran deal would lead to dangerous for the United States consequences, such as marring relations with European allies and weakening of dollar as the world’s reserve currency.
ISRAELI, SAUDIS COCKING NOSE
If the Congress rejects the deal, it would definitely come as a victory for Israeli and Saudi lobbies, which can prompt the two countries to more hawkish foreign policies.
“Should the Israeli lobby prevail in this vote by getting two thirds of the Congress to reject the agreement, it might well embolden Netanyahu [Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister] as well as Saudi Arabia to pursue even more extreme policies in light of the declining ability of the Obama administration to control its own foreign policy,” Porter told Sputnik.
The position of the two lobbies in the Congress is indeed strong, and Kerry “cannot directly criticize those who are raising hell in Washington against the deal,” Escobar noted.
STILL ENOUGH SWING VOTES TO AVOID DISAPPROVAL
Nevertheless, the Obama administration seems to have secured the necessary amount of swing votes in the Congress to avoid disapproval of the deal. Therefore, all the negative scenarios described above will most likely remain just theoretical conclusions.
“The Obama administration has been so afraid of the defeat of the agreement in the Senate that it has taken tougher positions on a series of issues in previous rounds of negotiations precisely in order to keep enough swing votes in the Senate in order to avoid that result,” Porter told Sputnik.
Escobar also noticed communicating with diplomats in Vienna during the final round of talks that “the Obama administration is confident of having enough votes not to be bothered by a Congressional veto.”
The Republican-controlled Congress has until mid-September to approve or disapprove the Iran nuclear deal. The House of Representatives and Senate can override a presidential veto by securing a two-thirds majority vote.
The P5+1 group and Iran reached a historic agreement ensuring the peaceful nature of Tehran’s nuclear program in mid-July. The US sanctions related to Iran’s alleged support for terrorism, ballistic missiles and arms transfers would remain in place, but the crippling international financial and oil sanctions on Tehran would be lifted under the deal.