U.S. Senate Panel Backs Bill Giving Congress Say On Iran Nuclear Deal
April 14, 2015
A U.S. Senate panel has unanimously approved a bill that would give Congress a say on any final nuclear deal with Iran.
The Foreign Relations Committee voted 19-0 on April 14 in favor of an amended version of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, after Democrats and Republicans reached a compromise on the measure.
Iran and six world powers -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany -- agreed in Lausanne, Switzerland, on April 2 on a framework for a final agreement that would limit Iran's nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.
A final deal must be agreed to by June 30.
Western powers fear Iran's nuclear program aims at creating nuclear weapons. Tehran says its nuclear activities are purely peaceful.
The U.S. bill, which now heads to a full Senate debate and vote, sets up a 30-day congressional review period if President Barack Obama submits the full text of a final agreement by July 9.
If a nuclear deal is submitted after that date, the review period would be extended to 60 days.
During the review period, Obama would be able to lift sanctions levied through presidential action, but would be blocked from easing sanctions imposed by Congress.
'Let's send a message to Tehran that sanctions relief is not a given and not a prize for signing on the dotted line,' Democratic Senator Robert Menendez told the committee.
The text also requires the president to certify to Congress every 90 days that Iran is complying with terms of any final agreement.
The bill is now likely to clear both houses in the Republican-controlled Congress.
The measure in its current form appears to have support from the White House, which had threatened to veto the original bill out of fear it would derail the negotiations with Tehran.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that if the proposed changes make it through the legislative process, it 'would be the kind of compromise the president would be willing to sign.'
With reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP, and dpa
Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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