CBN claims that opponents of the agreement recently “scored a coup” when former Democratic Senator and vice-presidential candidate Joe Lieberman was appointed the new head of United Against a Nuclear Iran, one of the most prominent pressure groups focused on overturning the deal.
CBN also calls Charles Schumer, the third highest ranking Democrat in the Senate, “one of the biggest critics” of the agreement. It also notes that Schumer described the forthcoming vote as a matter of conscience for members of congress, and one on which people’s opinions are unlikely to be swayed by pressure or favor-trading.
Indeed, many opponents perceive this agreement as the result of appeasement of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Thus for many of them it is a matter of greatest importance, even if the prospect of overriding a presidential veto on the matter is as unlikely as most reports indicate.
The Washington Post reports that some congressmen are now exploring other options for how to obstruct, counteract, or strengthen the deal if a resolution of disapproval fails to pass the president’s desk. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker warned that sometime after the nuclear agreement leaves congressional review, Congress may push to extend the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) so that it does not expire in 2016.
The Post notes that this may be viewed by Iran as a violation of terms of the agreement which bar “re-introducing or re-imposing” sanctions named in the deal. This in turn could give Iran reason to pull out of the agreement altogether, without suffering much blame for it in the international community.
But Corker objects that other provisions of the deal – provisions that will ostensibly enforce Iran’s continued cooperation – will be made all but meaningless if the ISA is not extended. Referring to frequent promises by the Obama administration that sanctions can “snap back” in the event that Iran is found to be cheating, Corker argued that the US itself would have no such sanctions to snap back into place unless the ISA was extended before being temporarily suspended.
The push for this extension may constitute the next big fight over Iran strategy. And as with the resolution of disapproval, the outcome will hinge on the number of Democrats who disagree with the administration’s strategy enough to break with party loyalty.
That number may grow as opponents find more ammunition for their criticisms. On Tuesday, Fox News reported that according to recent disclosures by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the Obama administration began negotiations with Iran earlier than it previously claimed. What’s more, the president allegedly endorsed Iran’s right to retain a nuclear enrichment program in 2001, at a time when the divisive Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was still in power.