Wednesday, September 2, 2015

U.S. Congress Nears Iran Deal Vote

Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Bob Casey (D-PA) announced their support (Politico) for the July agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program, becoming the thirty-second and thirty-third Democratic senators to publicly back the deal. The Obama administration is now one vote shy in the Senate of the support it would need to block a congressional override of a legislative measure to stop U.S. implementation of the deal.
CFR President Richard N. Haass offers Congress a list of measures to supplement the nuclear deal in this Op-Ed.
The agreement to constrain Iran’s nuclear capacity, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which the U.S. Congress will vote on next month, places significant limits on Iran’s nuclear program for a decade or longer. At the same time, the accord allows Iran access to resources that will enhance its ability to carry out a worrisome agenda throughout much of the Middle East. In addition, the agreement in no way resolves the problems posed by Iran’s nuclear program. To the contrary, these problems could well grow as most of the restrictions on centrifuges and enriched uranium run out after 10 and 15 years respectively.
So what should Congress do? Just to be clear, it is not being asked to vote on whether the accord is good or bad but whether the U.S. would be better or worse off with it. Nor should the vote be based on hopes the agreement will bring about a more moderate Iran. This is possible, but so, too, is the opposite. We cannot know if Iran will be transformed, much less how or how much. The agreement is a transaction that should be judged on its merits. View full text of article.

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