A group of Republican senators wants to require President Obama to come to Congress for approval on any nuclear deal with Iran.
Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida, John McCain of Arizona, and James Risch of Idaho announced late Wednesday a plan to mandate that the president submit a deal to Congress for consideration within three days of concluding an agreement with Iran.
Corker, the primary sponsor of the bill, said coming to Congress is in the president's interest, because it will help garner the support of the American people for a final deal.
"Hopefully, this will become something that is very bipartisan," Corker said. "This bill is about transparency."
According to the senators' Iran Nuclear Negotiations Act, if the president does not submit a deal to Congress, sanctions will be automatically reimposed.
The bill would also automatically reimpose sanctions on Iran on Nov. 28 should a deal not be reached by the Nov. 24 deadline announced last week by the P5+1.
Additionally, the bill requires that Congress be informed within 10 days if the administration finds that the Iranians violated the deal or failed to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency, which conducts inspections of nuclear facilities. If the Iranians do not hold up their end of the deal, the senators said, the sanctions would be automatically reimposed.
Rubio said he supported legislating stricter punishment for Iran if it does not uphold the bargain because he is skeptical that it will.
"They want relief from as many sanctions as possible without agreeing to any sanctions on their nuclear program," Rubio said. "I know that so many other issues are going on around the world, but what should not be lost in all of this is the ambitions of a rogue nation to acquire a nuclear weapon and establish dominance in the region."
Graham said because Congress imposed the sanctions, it should have a say in whether the deal is strong enough to lift them.
"President Obama felt he needed congressional approval to move forward in Syria, and Congress should insist on being involved in any nuclear deal with Iran," Graham said. "I cannot think of anything more serious we would vote on other than going to war."
This article appears in the July 24, 2014 edition of NJ Daily.