UN cohesion 'ups the ante' in Congress battle over Iran, Moniz says

US energy secretary warns of "significant problems" for US with int'l partners should Congress vote down Iran agreement in September.

United States Capitol building in Washington, DC. (photo credit: REUTERS)
United States Capitol building in Washington, DC.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, an architect of the nuclear deal reached with Iran this month, warned on Sunday of “significant problems” for the United States with its international partners should Congress disapprove of the agreement in a vote in September.
A vote of disapproval with support from the two-thirds of the legislature, Moniz said, would compromise the “cohesion” secured among the US, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany in its negotiations over the deal.
World powers reached the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on July 14. It is intended to cap, restrict, monitor and partially roll back Iran’s nuclear work for a finite period in exchange for sanctions relief.
The JCPOA was swiftly adopted by the UN Security Council last week. Congress now has 52 days to review the agreement, and then may choose to vote to approve or disapprove of it.
“This really was a six-nation negotiation – the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany. And sure, we had to negotiate among ourselves, because there are lots of trade-offs in this,” Moniz told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, who opened his morning show by endorsing the deal and criticizing its opponents.
“For example,” Moniz continued, “even the one-year breakout time – there are many ways to achieve that and different countries weighted things differently. But I think in the end, in that case, our scientists from all six countries worked very, very well together.”
Moniz argued that the agreement among Security Council members, in and of itself, constituted “a major outcome of the negotiation. And that cohesion, of course, really ups the ante in the current congressional discussion if we were to undermine this agreement at this stage. We would have significant problems with other major powers.”
In casting the American vote in favor of affirming the JCPOA in the Security Council, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said she hopes agreement could provide a model to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges outside the Iran nuclear file.
The Obama administration argues that the deal represents a victory for diplomacy over conflict, verifiably prevents Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and furthers the cause of world peace.
The governments of Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan oppose the deal in its current form.