GOP senators push for veto power over Iran nuclear deal

June 13, 2021 - 0:4

TEHRAN - A group of Republican senators introduced a bill on Friday that would require President Joe Biden to secure congressional approval for any new diplomatic agreement to revitalize the 2015 nuclear deal, officially called the JCPOA, according to Politico.

The bill, led by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), would give the Senate veto power over any attempt by the Biden administration to reenter the nuclear deal — which was effectively dissolved when former President Donald Trump withdrew from the pact in 2018 — by deeming it a treaty, which mandates approval from the upper chamber.

The GOP proposal comes as top Biden officials are holding indirect talks with the Iranians in Vienna in a bid to revive the Obama-era deal, which Republicans uniformly opposed. GOP lawmakers have introduced several measures aimed at preventing Biden from lifting the biting sanctions that Trump imposed on Tehran as part of his administration’s “maximum pressure” doctrine.

“Any potential agreement with Iran involves risks that affect our entire nation. 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,” Johnson said.

Republicans have been pushing for Biden to use the Vienna talks to pressure Iran over its non-nuclear activities, too; but Democrats say that approach would be a death knell to efforts to revive the nuclear agreement.

Republicans' new effort could further complicate the administration's diplomatic efforts, since it's aligned in spirit if not letter with a push that successfully afforded Congress veto power over the 2015 U.S.-Iran deal. The Johnson-led bill would subject any future agreement to a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate, an even higher hurdle than the 60-vote threshold the 2015 pact was subjected to.

The 2015 nuclear deal is endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

Most recently, the U.S. has been monitoring Iranian Navy ships that are making their way across the Atlantic Ocean, potentially for a weapons delivery to Venezuela. The Biden administration is pressuring the Venezuelan and Cuban governments to turn away the Iranian ships, and a senior administration official warned that the U.S. will take “appropriate measures in coordination with our partners to deter the transit or delivery of such weapons.”

A top Iranian military commander said on Thursday that the Iranian naval fleet, including two ships, has entered the Atlantic Ocean.

Habibollah Sayyari, deputy chief of the Army for coordination affairs, said Iran is entitled under international law to have a naval presence in international waters.

“We consider our presence in international waters an inalienable strategic right of the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy and we will continue on this path with strength,” Rear Admiral Sayyari stated.

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