The recently-signed nuclear deal with Iran was approved unanimously by by the United Nations Security Council today, despite protests from both Republican and Democratic members of Congress on legislative and Constitutional grounds.
Reuters reported today:
Passage of the resolution triggers a complex set of coordinated steps agreed by Iran during nearly two years of talks with the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, Germany and the European Union.
It says that no sanctions relief will be implemented until the International Atomic Energy Agency submits a report to the Security Council verifying that Iran has taken certain nuclear-related measures outlined in the agreement.
Under the deal, the major powers don’t need to take any further action for 90 days. Then they are required to begin preparations so they are able to lift sanctions as soon as the IAEA verification report is submitted.
Once sanctions are lifted, seven previous Security Council resolutions that found Iran in violation of its Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty obligations and imposed sanctions due to those violations will be cancelled.
Congress official received the text of the deal yesterday, and has sixty days to review the deal and approve or reject it.
Senators Bob Corker (R – Tenn.) and Ben Cardin (D – Md.), respectively the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sent a letter last week to President Barack Obama, asking him to wait to submit the deal to the Security Council, as “[d]oing so would be contrary to your statement that ‘it’s important for the American people and Congress to get a full opportunity to review this deal…our national security policies are stronger and more effective when they are subject to the scrutiny and transparency that democracy demands.’”
The senators’ request was echoed by House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D – Md.), who issued a press release Friday saying, “I believe that waiting to go to the United Nations until such time as Congress has acted would be consistent with the intent and substance of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act.” That act, which mandates Congressional review of the nuclear deal, passed both houses of Congress with strong bipartisan majorities earlier this year and was signed into law by President Obama.
Noted historian Walter Russell Mead wrote an analysis on Friday arguing that submitting the deal to the Security Council before Congress could be “essentially abrogating the treaty power of Congress,” in violation of the intent of the Constitution.
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