Both the executive and legislative branches are trumpeting significant, though seemingly unrelated, achievements. On Jan. 16, Congress passed a bipartisan $1.1 trillion omnibus bill to fund the government in 2014. The White House, on the other hand, is pleased that the interim deal it, together with international partners, has reached with Iran went into effect on January 20. These developments are more connected than they may seem—ensuring that Iran does not cheat on its deal will require the allocation of additional funds for enhanced inspections.
Last November, the United States, in conjunction with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China, reached an agreement with Iran, known as the “Joint Plan of Action.” With Iran coming close to being able to develop an undetectable nuclear weapons capability, the purpose of the deal was to slow Tehran’s nuclear progress in order to buy time to find a comprehensive diplomatic solution. The deal requires Iran to halt or reduce some elements of its nuclear program, while the U.S. and its partners unfreeze some Iranian assets and relax certain sanctions in return.