Congress a tough foe of Iran accord
WASHINGTON — An agreement secured with its greatest global foe, the Obama administration pleaded on Tuesday with a more familiar if often difficult negotiating partner not to scuttle last weekend's Iran nuclear deal: Congress.
Just back from his diplomatic triumph in Europe, Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a video message to legislators as he urged that they not introduce new economic measures against Iran at a time the United States and fellow world powers are withdrawing some sanctions in exchange for the Iranians curtailing their nuclear program.
Kerry asserted that now is the time to get to work on a final agreement that removes any suspicion that Iran is trying to produce nuclear weapons. “We all know that if the agreement falls apart, Iran is going to quickly face even tougher sanctions,” he said in the message.
Although Kerry was reaching out personally to key senators, Democrats and Republicans appeared determined to increase the pressure on Tehran. Many in Congress are skeptical, if not outright hostile, regarding the deal reached in Geneva. Two key senators are at work on legislation to reinstate the full force of sanctions and impose new ones if Iran doesn't make good on its pledge to roll back its nuclear program.
“The American people need an insurance policy to prevent a rerun of North Korea,” said Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., who is crafting a bill alongside Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J. Critics of the accord reached in Geneva believe it could allow Iran to trick international monitors while it assembles an atomic weapons arsenal, similarly to what North Korea did last decade.
Iran sanctions evoke great passion in Washington. Although Obama views the economic pressure as the key motivation for bringing Iran's new moderate President Hassan Rouhani to the negotiating table, pulling them back is the administration's only real carrot for securing nuclear concessions.
Congress, which passed the sanctions, is leery. Israel views any easing of economic pressure as a dangerous concession that allows Iran to move closer to nuclear weapons capability. And the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee has joined the call, saying new sanctions are needed “so that Iran will face immediate consequences should it renege on its commitments or refuse to negotiate an acceptable final agreement.”
Menendez and Kirk hope to have their bill ready for other lawmakers to consider when the Senate returns on Dec. 9 from its two-week recess, legislative aides said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Indiana governor defends religious objections bill signed into law
- Watchdog: Policy over visas broke, but not law
- Jackson Jr. leaves prison for halfway house
- Tractor-trailer hits construction beams over Interstate 35 in Texas
- $140M Picasso likely to set auction record
- Damaged Jersey shore pier to be rebuilt
- Feds arrest guardsman, cousin for terror plot on military facility
- Special operations troops are denied commercial intelligence analysis software for missions
- House OKs overhaul of Medicare, keeps kids insurer
- Oklahomans devastated, yet grateful, amid twister cleanup
- Balanced GOP budget blueprint nears Senate OK