Senators Send Obama a Wish List for Iran Nuke Deal

The bipartisan group points out that if the administration wants a long-term removal of sanctions, it will likely need help from Congress.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif shakes hands with Secretary of State John Kerry after a statement on a landmark deal with Iran halting parts of its nuclear program Nov. 24, 2013 in Geneva.
National Journal
Jordain Carney
Add to Briefcase
Jordain Carney
March 18, 2014, 10:58 a.m.

As dip­lo­mats dis­cuss a long-term agree­ment on Ir­an’s nuc­le­ar pro­gram, a ma­jor­ity of sen­at­ors Tues­day in­creased pres­sure on Pres­id­ent Obama to make sure he in­cludes key pro­vi­sions.

In a let­ter to the pres­id­ent, 83 sen­at­ors out­lined “core prin­ciples” they be­lieve must be in a fi­nal agree­ment. Ne­go­ti­ations among Rus­sia, China, Ger­many, France, the United King­dom, the United States, and Ir­an are on­go­ing in Vi­enna.

At the top of their list is an as­ser­tion that the fi­nal agree­ment must un­der­line that Ir­an has no right to urani­um en­rich­ment un­der the Nuc­le­ar Non-Pro­lif­er­a­tion Treaty. It’s a long-con­tested sub­ject, and an idea that Ir­a­ni­an of­fi­cials have re­jec­ted.

Sen­at­ors are press­ing for a hand­ful of oth­er pro­vi­sions as part of a long-term deal, in­clud­ing:

  • A dis­mant­ling of Ir­an’s nuc­le­ar-weapons pro­gram.

  • The shut­ter­ing of Ir­an’s heavy-wa­ter re­act­or at Arak, ex­plan­a­tions on “ques­tion­able activ­it­ies” at oth­er re­act­ors, and stress­ing that Ir­an “has no reas­on” to have an un­der­ground en­rich­ment fa­cil­ity.

  • The tack­ling of pre­vi­ous con­cerns raised by the United Na­tion’s Se­cur­ity Coun­cil, in­clud­ing ques­tions about wheth­er the pro­gram has a mil­it­ary as­pect. In­ter­na­tion­al Atom­ic En­ergy Agency of­fi­cials have ex­pressed hope that they can get to the bot­tom of a long-stand­ing in­vest­ig­a­tion over any mil­it­ary-re­lated pro­grams.

  • Ir­an must al­low “long-term and in­trus­ive in­spec­tion and veri­fic­a­tion” at its sites to make sure it can­not try to get or build a nuc­le­ar weapon.

And the sen­at­ors are giv­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion a reas­on to pay at­ten­tion to its re­quest: sanc­tions. They note that if the pres­id­ent wants a long-term roll­back of sanc­tions “bey­ond ex­ist­ing waiver au­thor­ity” as part of an “ac­cept­able” fi­nal agree­ment on Ir­an’s nuc­le­ar pro­gram, it will have to work with Con­gress

Many of the sen­at­ors have backed long-stalled le­gis­la­tion to in­crease sanc­tions against Ir­an if it vi­ol­ates the in­ter­im agree­ment reached last year or walks away from talks over a long-term deal. The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion and Ir­a­ni­an of­fi­cials have stressed that any sanc­tions le­gis­la­tion would kill dip­lo­mat­ic pro­gress.

But the bi­par­tis­an group con­tends “that the pres­sure from eco­nom­ic sanc­tions brought Ir­an to the table, and that it must con­tin­ue un­til Ir­an aban­dons its ef­forts to build a nuc­le­ar weapon.”

What We're Following See More »
CITES CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Lieberman Withdraws from Consideration for FBI Job
3 days ago
THE LATEST
MINIMUM 2 PERCENT GDP
Trump Tells NATO Countries To Pay Up
3 days ago
BREAKING
MANAFORT AND FLYNN
Russians Discussed Influencing Trump Through Aides
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Source:
BUT WHITE HOUSE MAY USE AGAINST HIM ANYWAY
Ethics Cops Clear Mueller to Work on Trump Case
4 days ago
THE LATEST

"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."

Source:
BUSINESSES CAN’T PLEAD FIFTH
Senate Intel to Subpoena Two of Flynn’s Businesses
4 days ago
THE LATEST

Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."

×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login