Senate Republicans Introduce Bill Requiring Congressional Approval for New Iran Deal

The Iranian flag waves in front of the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria, March 1, 2021. (Lisi Niesner/Reuters)

Senate Republicans proposed legislation Friday that would require President Joe Biden to secure congressional approval before a new nuclear deal is forged with Iran.

The bill stipulates that any agreement arrived at with the help of the Biden administration must be deemed a treaty and therefore receive Senate approval in accordance with the Constitution, according to a copy obtained by the Washington Free BeaconSponsored by Senator Ron Johnson and 21 other Republicans, the legislation would add an additional check against Biden’s executive foreign-policy-making with the Iranian regime.

To be enacted, the treaty will require two-thirds of the Senate voting in favor. Given the fact that the Democrats have only a slim majority in the Senate, the party is unlikely to garner sufficient support to pass it.

The State Department unilaterally revoked the sanction penalties imposed by the previous administration on multiple former Iranian individuals and businesses Thursday. State Department spokesman Ned Price quieted suspicions that lifting the sanctions could be tied to a new Iran deal, reporters there is “absolutely no connection.”

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Senior Biden administration officials promised this year that roll backing sanctions against Tehran would be conditional to the state shrinking its nuclear program. However, negotiations, the subject of which is the 2015 agreement that limited Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief, now hang in the balance in Vienna.

Price told reporters Thursday that “big issues” continue to divide both parties.

“We are moving at a pace that is consistent with our desire to see Iran’s nuclear program once again restricted and to see Iran, once again, subject to a permanent and verifiable ban on ever obtaining a nuclear weapon,” he added.

Iranian diplomats have reiterated that sanctions removal is a prerequisite for a new deal version intended to restrict its nuclear arsenal.

The original Obama-era deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was implemented via executive action, without congressional approval, giving his successor Trump an easy avenue to cancel it in 2018. If Biden resurrects the deal in a new form without congressional approval again, the next Republican White House can simply rescind it in similar fashion to Trump. The implication for Tehran could be that sanctions breaks are unlikely to survive past the current administration.

With a Democratic-dominated chamber, Senate Republicans will likely struggle to advance the bill forward. Nonetheless, it signifies the GOP’s determination to prevent the Biden administration from further capitulating to Iran at the expense of American interests. Republicans have lobbied for months to stall President Biden’s plans to renew an agreement with Iran over its nuclear development.

By rejoining the Iran deal, the Biden administration risks further alienating Israel, a clear enemy of Tehran, after weeks of sending mixed, tepid signals of support to the Jewish state as it battled with the Iran-backed terrorist organization Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

In a statement, Johnson said, “President Reagan was right when he said you achieve peace through strength. Unfortunately, our adversaries understand the Biden administration will chart the same weak and disastrous course as President Obama.” He continued, “It’s clear the Biden administration is in the business of appeasing adversaries like Russia, state sponsors of terrorism like Iran, and Iran’s terrorist proxies like Hamas. Instead of addressing the threats these actors pose, the administration will coddle the Iranian regime and ignore its malign activity throughout the region.”

A new nuclear deal with Iran “involves risks that affect our entire nation,” Johnson said. “It is critical to the security of America and to world peace that any deal Biden negotiates with Iran be deemed a treaty requiring approval by the U.S. Senate.”

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