If the initial war of words is any indication, getting the required Congressional approval on the Iranian nuclear deal won’t be easy. Two of the most powerful members of the Congressional foreign relations committees have expressed their concerns about the deal.
Senator Bob Corker—who leads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee—and Representative Ed Royce—who heads the House Committee on Foreign Affairs—both released critical statements about the deal on Tuesday, which will go to the Congress for a 60 day review. With a large enough supermajority, Congress can scuttle US participation in the agreement.
Royce was especially stern in summarizing his concerns, saying the deal “allows Iran to retain a vast enrichment capacity, continue its research and development, and gain an industrialized nuclear program once key provisions of this agreement begin to expire in as little as ten years. “
In prepared comments to open a committee hearing on the agreement and posted on the House Foreign Affairs Committee website, Royce also hit at the alleviation of missile sanctions permitted by the agreement.
“While Obama Administration officials first told us that Iran’s missile program would have ‘to be addressed’ as part of a final agreement—they failed to mention that ‘addressing’ the program means taking restrictions off—in just eight years. “
Poking holes in a variety of elements of the deal Royce slammed the easing of restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program that begin 10 years into the deal. He quoted a witness to the committee as terming the deal a “bet” that Iran would be more friendly by that time. Said Royce, “President Obama has decided to place all his chips on the fact that the ‘Death to America’ chants will soon disappear. This Committee has to ask itself whether we are willing to roll the dice too?”
Corker, a member of the Republican party like Royce, was more subdued in his critique in comments posted to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations website. “I want to read the agreement in detail and fully understand it, but I begin from a place of deep skepticism that the deal actually meets the goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” said Corker.
Corker noted that Congress is tasked with deciding if the deal “is worth dismantling our painstakingly-constructed sanctions regime that took more than a decade to establish.”
Mentioning a concern commonly expressed by Israel, Corker said that “Iran continues to be the lead sponsor of terrorism in the world and relieving sanctions would make the Tehran regime flush with cash and could create a more dangerous threat to the United States and its allies.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, July 14, 2015)