If you’re all about the politics, the nuclear deal with Iran and the Senate’s exercise of the “nuclear option” are both meant to distract from the Obamacare debacle. It may be true with respect to the Senate reversing its long practice of requiring the approval of 60 senators to proceed with debate on appointments and bills.
The Senate has eliminated the use of the filibuster on executive branch nominees and judicial nominees other than to the Supreme Court. Maybe that was meant to take conservatives off the Obamacare scent.
But even a president of the United States can’t time a nuclear deal with Iran to move the headlines off of his floundering health care program. The deal with Iran should be considered independent of its effect on domestic U.S. politics.
The six-month deal is meant to allow further negotiations to continue.
As reported by the Guardian, the Iranians have committed to:
• stop enriching uranium above 5% and dilute its stock of 20%-enriched uranium or convert it to oxide, which makes it harder to enrich further.
• not to increase its stockpile of low-enrichment uranium.
• freeze its enrichment capacity by not installing any more centrifuges, leaving more than half of its existing 16,000 centrifuges inoperable.
• not to fuel or to commission the heavy-water reactor it is building in Arak or build a reprocessing plant that could produce plutonium from the spent fuel.
• accept more intrusive nuclear inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, including daily visits to some facilities.
In exchange, the U.S. will release just over $4 billion in Iranian oil sales revenue that were in frozen accounts, and it will suspend restrictions on Iran’s trade in gold, petrochemicals, car parts, and plane parts. Count this a success for the United States’ sanctions efforts.
Israel doesn’t like the deal. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said of the deal, “What was concluded in Geneva last night is not a historic agreement, it’s a historic mistake.”
It will become more clear over time whether the Iran nuclear deal is an important success for U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, or if it is indeed a historic mistake.
Congress has been keenly interested in Iran, and additional sanctions were on the near horizon when the accord with Iran was struck. Here’s a look at the bills dealing with Iran introduced in Congress this year.
- H.R. 850, The Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013, introduced by Rep. Edward Royce (R-CA)
- H.R. 783, The Prevent Iran from Acquiring Nuclear Weapons and Stop War Through Diplomacy Act, introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
- H.R. 893, The Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Accountability Act of 2013, introduced by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
- S. Res. 65, A resolution strongly supporting the full implementation of United States and international sanctions on Iran and urging the President to continue to strengthen enforcement of sanctions legislation, introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
- H. Res. 89, Condemning the attack on Iranian dissidents living at Camp Hurriya, and for other purposes, introduced by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX)
- H. Res. 98, Expressing support for Israel and its right to self-defense against the illegal nuclear program by the Islamic Republic of Iran, introduced by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ)
- S. Res. 75, A resolution condemning the Government of Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of its Baha’i minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights, introduced by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL)
- H. Res. 109, Condemning the Government of Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of its Baha’i minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights, introduced by Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY)
- S. 559, The Justice for Former American Hostages in Iran Act of 2013, introduced by Sen. John Isakson (R-GA)
- H. Res. 147, Calling for the release of United States citizen Saeed Abedini and condemning the Government of Iran for its persecution of religious minorities, introduced by Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
- H. Res. 183, Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Broadcasting Board of Governors should broadcast and direct Azeri language content into the Islamic Republic of Iran and Baloch language content into the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, introduced by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)
- S. 892, The Iran Sanctions Loophole Elimination Act of 2013, introduced by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL)
- S. 965, The Iran Sanctions Implementation Act of 2013, introduced by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)
- S. 1001, The Iran Export Embargo Act, introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
- S. Res. 154, A resolution supporting political reform in Iran and for other purposes, introduced by Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND)
- H. Res. 252, Calling for free and fair elections in Iran, and for other purposes, introduced by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ)
- H.R. 3200, The Justice for Former American Hostages in Iran Act of 2013, introduced by Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA)
- S. Res. 252, A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate on steps the Government of Iran must take before President Obama meets with the President of Iran, introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)
- H.R. 3292, The United States-Iran Nuclear Negotiations Act, introduced by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ)
- S. Res. 269, A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate on United States policy regarding possession of enrichment and reprocessing capabilities by the Islamic Republic of Iran, introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)
- S. Res. 284, A resolution calling on the Government of Iran to immediately release Saeed Abedini and all other individuals detained on account of their religious beliefs, introduced by Sen. James Risch (R-ID)
- S. 1765, A bill to ensure the compliance of Iran with agreements relating to Iran’s nuclear program, introduced by Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)