Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to a joint meeting of Congress in early 2015 ignited debate about the potential terms of an agreement with Iran on their nuclear program. Negotiations between the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK, and the U.S) are ongoing, but elements of the existing framework have a deadline in June 2015.
Ten Democratic Senators have written a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) objecting to the fast-tracking of this bill — bypassing the committee process and to get bring it to a vote sooner. Just to give you some context, several of those Democratic Senators who oppose McConnell’s action are sponsors of the bill.
For its part, Iran has taken some provocative actions that could call into question their sincerity in honoring an agreement. Iran recently tested what it claims to have been an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) capable of reaching beyond Europe, which could deliver a small warhead. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — Iran’s military — destroyed a replica of a U.S. aircraft carrier with its anti-ship missiles in the Strait of Hormuz in late February 2015.
If passed, the President would certify that the agreement includes the terms, conditions, and duration of all requirements related to Iran’s nuclear activities. In addition, the President would describe sanctions that would be waived by the U.S. and other nations or entities (like the UN).
A determination would be included by the President that the agreement satisfies non-proliferation objectives, doesn’t jeopardize national security, and provides a framework to ensure that Iran’s nuclear activities will not be military-related.
The Secretary of State would be required to submit a report to the congressional committees describing how strongly the Secretary can verify that Iran is complying with its agreement obligations. The Secretary must also verify that the safeguards put in place to prevent Iran from conducting military-related nuclear activities are sufficient. Assessments of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) verification requirements of the agreement would also be included in this report.
If any breach of the nuclear agreement occurs, the President will be required to submit a report to the relevant congressional committees within 10 days. This report would include a description of the breach, and the status of any corrective action taken by Iran.
Within 180 days of the agreement, the President would have to submit a report on the progress of the Iran agreement. This, and subsequent reports would include information related to breaches, the IAEA’s enforcement progress, and assessments of whether Iran has supported or perpetrated acts of terrorism against the U.S. or its citizens.
Sponsoring Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) Press Release
CBO Cost Estimate
New York Times
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