White House will report to Congress on Iran dealings

NDAA provision will force the White House to verify Iranian compliance with an interim deal on the nuclear program within 30 days of the bill's passage.

The full moon rises behind the US Capitol Dome in Washington  (photo credit: REUTERS)
The full moon rises behind the US Capitol Dome in Washington
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON -- Congress is positioned to vote Thursday afternoon on a 1,650-page bill that will, among many other things, require the White House to issue reports on Iran's nuclear program.
Language in the National Defense Authorization Act, an omnibus defense bill, requires the White House to verify Iranian compliance with the interim nuclear deal within 30 days of the bill's passage "to the appropriate congressional committees."
Those bodies include the Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees in the House and Senate.
Responding to a pending vote on the language, National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said the White House would have no problem abiding by the provision given the fact that they are, in large part, already doing so.
“We are already briefing Congress on an ongoing basis on Iranian compliance with the JPOA," Meehan said, "and will certainly be providing regular compliance updates to Congress during the extension period and in the event of a final deal.”
The interim deal, now a year old, has required Iran to halt or roll back key aspects of its program in exchange for sanctions relief. Recent findings from the International Atomic Energy Agency have suggested possible breaches of the deal.
Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL), author of the amendment alongside Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R-IN), said the intent of the language is to cajole the Obama administration into "coming clean" on Iranian non-compliance.
"Throughout the two failed rounds of negotiations, Iran has refused to comply with the terms of the agreement by routinely denying the [IAEA] access to its suspected nuclear and military facilities," Roskam said. "This amendment will, for the first time, require the administration to finally come clean on its closed-door negotiations with the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism."
The amendment was accepted into the base language of the bill during the committee mark-up process.
Additionally, the provision requires the president consistently submit reports to Congress concerning any final nuclear deal, beginning within 90 days of an agreement.
All reports must also include "an assessment of the overall state of the nuclear program of Iran," the language reads.
The NDAA section includes a built-in sunset, ten years after enactment of the act.