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Charles Robb, Charles Wald, Blaise Misztal: A good deal with Iran requires Congress

The Hill

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A diplomatic agreement still remains the most desirable method for ensuring that Iran’s totalitarian regime does not acquire a nuclear weapons capability. But pursuing a deal that does not fully prevent such an outcome, only delays it, could be dangerous for our national security. And doing so without the involvement, and against the considered judgment, of Congress would certainly be dangerous to our nation’s already fragile civic health.

According to The New York Times, U.S. negotiators are considering how to structure a potential deal with Iran such that lawmakers need not approve it. The motivation for this approach stems from the fact that, since the United States and its international partners inked an interim deal with Iran almost a year ago, Capitol Hill and the White House have been at odds over both the means and ends of the negotiations.

A bipartisan majority in Congress wanted to strengthen negotiators’ hand by passing sanctions that would only be triggered if Iran reneged or backed out of talks; the administration argued additional sanctions would derail negotiations. Congress is opposed to allowing Iran to enrich uranium; the administration has suggested it could accept an arrangement under which Iran keeps all 19,000 of its centrifuges. Congress believes, given Iran’s history of deceiving international inspectors, that it cannot be trusted and strict limitations on its nuclear program need to be put in place indefinitely; yet international negotiators have already agreed that any deal will have an expiration date, after which Iran “will be treated in the same manner as that of any non-nuclear weapon state.”