March 17, 2015

Iran Deal Needs Senate Review, Not Just UN Blessing


  • The deadline for an agreement is in one week; the administration still refuses to work with the Senate for domestic legitimacy on the deal with Iran.    

  • In a Saturday letter, the White House announced it will work with the UN Security Council for international legitimacy of the deal. 

  • Legislation for congressional review of the Iran deal has bipartisan support.


In a Saturday letter to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Corker, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough described the administration’s effort to “increase [the] international legitimacy” of any final agreement with Iran over its illicit nuclear program. He said he anticipated the United Nations Security Council “would pass a resolution to register its support for any deal.” This would be required at some point anyway, because only the Security Council could remove international sanctions it imposed. 

letter quote

It would seem the Obama administration would also want to increase the domestic legitimacy of any agreement. In his letter, McDonough repeated the administration position that Congress will eventually have its say on any final agreement, because sanctions will likely have to be repealed at some point. “Only Congress can terminate the existing Iran statutory sanctions,” he wrote.

Secretary of State John Kerry has previously testified to Congress that any final agreement will have to “pass muster with Congress.” The best way to ensure that Congress supports a deal at the end of the process would be to secure that support at the beginning of the process.

The Corker-Menendez legislation providing for congressional review of any final agreement would make that happen. It is also consistent with the position of Senators Obama and Biden, who both co-sponsored bills requiring Congress to approve any long-term security commitment President Bush made to Iraq. A long-term agreement with Iran over its nuclear program is no less significant.

Issue Tag: National Security