Report: Israeli officials fear Obama will try to avoid bringing Iran nuclear deal before Congress

'New York Times' reports that Obama administration would likely lose a congressional vote to terminate sanctions; Israeli officials reportedly think Congress would prevent a bad deal.

October 20, 2014 16:07
1 minute read.
US President Barack Obama

US President Barack Obama. . (photo credit: REUTERS)


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U.S. President Barack Obama will seek to avoid bringing any deal made with Iran over its nuclear program before Congress for approval, The New York Times reported on Monday, adding that the development has raised concerns among some Israeli officials.

It remains uncertain if a deal will be reached to reduce sanctions on the Islamic Republic by the November 24 deadline, however Israel has expressed concern in recent days that the P5+1 group of world powers is on  the brink of signing a deal that would allow Tehran to remain a nuclear threshold state.

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According to the Times, a Treasury Department report that has not been released to the public determined that Obama could suspend most sanctions against Iran without the approval of Congress. However, he would need congressional approval to terminate those sanctions.

The Times reported that Obama would be likely to lose a congressional vote to terminate sanctions, even if the Democrats retain the Senate in November's midterm elections.

“We wouldn’t seek congressional legislation in any comprehensive agreement for years,” the Times quoted a senior official as saying.

According to the report, some members of Congress fear Obama is trying to freeze them out of the decision-making process, a move that Israeli officials are concerned increases the chances for a bad deal.

The report came as the head of the UN atomic energy agency said on Monday that Iran has still not implemented all the nuclear transparency measures it had agreed to carry out by late August.

"In order to resolve all outstanding issues, it is very important that Iran implements, in a timely manner, all practical measures agreed under the Framework for Cooperation," Yukiya Amano said. That accord was reached with Tehran last year to help advance the long-running investigation.

Addressing a conference at IAEA headquarters on nuclear safeguards, he said the UN agency was not in a position "to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran."

Reuters contributed to this report.

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