As the 2024 Presidential election begins to heat up, members of the Biden White House, national security team, and Progressive Left-leaning lobbyists have started a new campaign to help the administration avoid a congressional vote over a potential nuclear agreement with Iran.
When the Iran nuclear agreement was created in 2015 under the Obama administration, it contained a review mechanism that required the United States president to bring any agreement relating to Tehran’s atomic program to Congress for a 30-day review period during which lawmakers could provide their input.
The review mechanism was known as the 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA), and if Iran violates the nuclear agreement, the review mechanism allows the Congress to fast-track a bill to reinstate economic sanctions against the regime.
Over the weekend, The Foreign Desk reported a video published by former US State Department Iran official Gabriel Noronha, which showed former Obama administration lawyer Tess Bridgeman, who was the legal counsel for the JCPOA, calling to keep details of the new nuclear agreement a secret from congressional oversight at a recent J-Street roundtable.
“With elections coming up, we are not going to see the administration do anything that requires voting in Congress, so I think it is really important to keep in mind that agreements be in that realm of discretionary, unilateral gestures,” she said.
“Something that is written down on a piece of paper for all sides to try to implement is a recipe for Congress making it impossible,” Bridgeman added.
In Congress, as more reports reveal that Tehran has continued to increase its weapons-grade enrichment levels, representatives from both parties in the House and Senate have been wary of the Biden administration’s continued efforts to negotiate with Tehran, warning the White House of attempts to circumvent the legislative branch.
In the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Texas Republican Representative Michael McCaul wrote a letter to the Biden White House that said: “Rather than using US diplomatic leverage and military deterrence to dissuade Iran from engaging in these malign activities, this administration is rewarding Iran’s bad behavior in exchange for a false promise of de-escalation.”
In his letter, McCaul told the administration that US law “requires that any agreement, arrangement, or understanding with Iran needs to be submitted to Congress pursuant to INARA. Any continued obstruction will rob the American people of answers about why the US is facilitating the lining of Iran’s coffers.”
In the Senate, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democrat Senators Richard Blumenthal and Robert Menendez have proposed a bill requiring the Biden administration to alert Congress within two days if Tehran enriches uranium past the 60% threshold.
In Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu and Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Yuli Edelstein have described it as a “mini-deal” and a “memorandum of understanding.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu and members of his cabinet have told American officials that the Jewish state will not stand for any atomic deal with Iran that jeopardizes Israel’s safety and security.