Iran wants sanctions relief to be lifted, immediately, and not merely suspended. Iran should not get that. If it doesn’t, it may well terminate the “deal” unilaterally. If Iran gets what it wants, the Senate should review the “deal” as a treaty and reject it. Either outcome would be a substantial improvement over the current “deal” and the morass in which it is embedded.
This post is based on a September 21st article at Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) titled “Expected September 28 NY Meeting Between P5+1 Foreign Ministers And Iran Could Signify Reopening Of Nuclear Negotiations To Address Khamenei’s September 3 Threat That If Sanctions Are Not Lifted, But Merely Suspended, There Will Be No Agreement.”
The MEMRI article cites statements by Supreme Leader Khamenei and one of his senior advisers, Ali Akbar Velayat. The latter said, on September 19th, “the nuclear negotiations are not over yet.” Khamenei has said much the same thing.
Khamenei said, in a September 3, 2015 speech to the Assembly of Experts, that he did not accept the terms of the agreement and demanded that the sanctions be immediately lifted rather than merely suspended; otherwise, he said, there would either be no agreement, or Iran too would merely suspend its execution of its obligations under the JCPOA.
. . . .
“Freezing or suspension [of the sanctions] is unacceptable to me… If they suspend [the sanctions], we too will suspend [what is incumbent upon us]. If we are to implement what [is required of us], the sanctions must be [actually] cancelled.
Iran has thus made clear that it will not abide by the nuke “deal” as written; unless it gets the changes it now demands, it will either terminate the deal or violate it. If, as seems likely for the reasons cited in the MEMRI article, the September 28th meeting involves discussion of the deal, it will either be renegotiated or it won’t be.
If the “deal” is not renegotiated, or is renegotiated and Iran does not get what it demands, it may very well terminate the deal. Iran has already received substantial sanctions relief, is already open for business and is already doing lots of it with many more nations than previously. Termination would be a rebuff to the “Great Satan,” would not damage Iran much economically and it could proceed with its “peaceful” nuke program without even farcical nuke self-inspections.
If The Obama administration and others cave and Iran gets what it demands or enough to satisfy it, the “deal” will be very different from what was previously presented to the Congress under the Corker legislation. That legislation purported to eliminate the constitutional requirement of approval of the “deal” by a two-thirds Senate majority before going into effect and permitted it to go into effect unless rejected by half of the membership of both houses; Obama promised to veto such a rejection and put the “deal” into effect. The House has disapproved the “deal” but the Senate has not acted because of Democrat fillibusters, urged by the White House. Under the new “deal,” the ability of the United States to “snap back” sanctions would be vitiated; a possible but very difficult if not impossible to accomplish, “snap back” had been among the reasons cited by many of those who favored the “deal” (often despite its many other flaws) for supporting it.
If a deal eliminating the “snap back” is struck, Obama, et al, may well claim that it’s none of the business of the Congress since, by virtue of the Corker legislation, it has already eliminated its constitutional authority to deal with the JCPOA as a treaty, regardless of any “minor” change.
I hope, but am less than confident, that both houses of the Congress will reject this contention vigorously and repeal the Corker legislation. Whatever benefits or other legitimacy the Corker legislation may once have been thought to have it no longer has. Repeal will probably require use of the “nuclear option” to invoke cloture to end a Democrat filibuster in the Senate. If — as seems likely — Obama vetoes the rejection, the Congress should state that it no longer considers itself bound by the Corker legislation. Next, the Senate should treat the renegotiated “deal” as a treaty, regardless of whether Obama agrees to send it to the Senate, and reject it. It should do so even if, as also seems likely, that requires use of the “nuclear option” to invoke cloture.
Obama has precipitated what may well become a constitutional crisis. If the Congress does its job, Obama will be the loser and America will be the winner — even if it becomes necessary to take out Iran’s nukes militarily.