Congress won't jeopardize Iran deal with legislation, Cardin says

US President Donald Trump will need at least eight Democratic caucus senators to join any legislative effort on the Iran deal in order to pass a requisite 60-vote threshold.

October 27, 2017 20:09
1 minute read.
Iran rocket launch

Rocket launch in Iran. (photo credit: FARS)


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WASHINGTON – There is bipartisan consensus on Capitol Hill against killing the Iran nuclear deal through legislation, a senior lawmaker on foreign policy said on Friday.

“There is a general understanding that Congress will not take any steps that will put the United States on a path that would violate the agreement,” said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Ben Cardin, Democrat of Maryland, speaking with CNN.

Cardin has been in talks with his Republican counterpart on the committee, Chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee, over legislative remedies to US concerns with the multilateral nuclear agreement brokered in 2015 with Russia, China, Britain, France, Germany and Iran.

US President Donald Trump earlier this month called on Congress to pass an amendment to a law that provides them with review powers over the agreement. With consultation from some Republican senators, Trump proposed that Congress add “triggers” to the law that would automatically “snap back” nuclear- related sanctions on Iran for behavior not fully addressed in the nuclear accord.

But Democrats balked at the proposal as an effort to unilaterally renegotiate an agreement that was agreed upon by international powers, brokered over two years and endorsed by the UN Security Council. Trump will need at least eight Democratic caucus senators to join any legislative effort on the Iran deal in order to reach a requisite 60-vote threshold.

Republicans, too, have expressed concern with legislation that might ostracize the very international partners the US will need in order to “plug the holes” they see in the nuclear accord. Members of both parties are concerned that caps on Iran’s nuclear work last for too short a period, that the deal fails to address Tehran’s nuclear-capable ballistic missile activities, and that international inspectors do not have access to the nation’s self-declared military sites.

Cardin shares these concerns, and voted to disapprove the nuclear accord when it first reached a vote on the Hill in September 2015.

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