Senate Has Veto-Proof “Insurance Policy” on Iran

Will US Congress pass more sanctions on Iran? US Capitol building. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

Will US Congress pass more sanctions on Iran? US Capitol building. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

A series of butting heads may be on the near horizon after reports have emerged that the US Senate has all the votes it needs to emplace an “diplomatic insurance policy” on negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. That’s what Senator Robert Menendez—a chief proponent of a bill that would hit Iran with strengthened sanctions if it doesn’t negotiate in good faith—called it in an Op-Ed for The Washington Post.

Meanwhile, it looks like a different analogy is about to explode in the diplomatic world over the bill: tag-team wrestling. You see, the Obama Administration is adamantly opposed to the bill over concerns it will kill the talks with Iran. The Iranians (surprise!) share that opinion and are already prepping for retaliation if Congress passes the bill. But, believe it or not, a three-way diplomatic war is way better than the status quo.

You see, the bill that is causing so much strife is designed to prevent the Iranians from deceiving the world. Iran and the major world powers signed a deal that grants some sanctions relief in exchange for the Iranians to temporarily freeze their nuclear program. That time is supposed to then be used to hammer out a final agreement that prevents Iran from ever building nuclear weapons.

But there are legitimate concerns Iran will instead use that time to perfect the secretive elements of their nuclear weapons program, or some similar dastardly scheme, and end the interim deal closer to nukes than ever before.

So Senator Menendez and others are pushing for a bill that tells Iran to negotiate in good faith, or else. And according to CNN’s Jim Sciutto’s Twitter page, a Senate aide told him 77 senators now back the bill. If true, that means that there are enough votes for the bill to even overcome a Presidential veto from Obama.

This is a good thing, because it provides protection for the world from Iranian deception. Or as Menendez put in The Washington Post, “The proposed legislation is a clarifying action.”

“It allows all sides to negotiate in certainties and provides one year of space for the parties to continue talking. It spells out precisely the consequences should the agreement fail. This should motivate Iranians to negotiate honestly and seriously.”

Not surprisingly, the Iranians have their own threats in response. An Iranian parliament member reiterated on Sunday warnings of a draft bill in the Iranian parliament that would up their nuclear fuel enrichment to 60 percent—just one step short of weapon’s grade. There are no normal civilian uses for that.

“If the US congress approves any (more) sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Islamic Consultative Assembly (the parliament) will accelerate the approval of a bill which requires the government to enrich uranium to the 60% grade,” member of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Mohammad Hassan Asafari was quoted as saying by the Fars News Agency.

So there it is. If the US moves to force Iran to negotiate in good faith or else, Iran is essentially threatening they will move closer towards nuclear weapons.

But who wants to bet their life that the Iranians won’t do the same anyway, when there are no consequences?

(By Joshua Spurlock,, January 12, 2014)

What do you think?