A leading Democratic senator said an acceptable deal with Iran wouldn’t just “snap” back congressional sanctions when the deal is violated — but would require that UN sanctions return as they were, as well.
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), who was a co-sponsor of the Menendez-Kirk sanctions in the last Congress, told MSNBC today that “the best case is to have an effective arrangement with Iran where they give up their nuclear weapon ambition.”
“If they don’t, sanctions will be tightened. We will continue to isolate Iran as much as we can. We hope to have the type of cooperation from those who have been with us in these negotiations, to make sure that we not only have all of the sanctions and that we would have a snap back to what the — the relief we’ve already given Iran. But we would pass stronger sanctions in the United States Congress and we would hope the international community would follow us,” Cardin said.
Congress, he said, has “a responsibility to be involved in the oversight that agreement,” should the P5+1 and Iran arrive at a deal.
“It was Congress that imposed the sanctions. Only Congress can permanently remove the sanctions,” Cardin stressed. “But I think there’s two parts to this. First, we want to make sure that the agreement itself would prevent Iran from breaking out to a nuclear weapon in any short period of time. And secondly, that there is enforcement,that there is transparency in inspections and that if Iran does not follow its commitments, we have an immediate snap back, not only the U.S. sanctions, but the sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council.”
The prospect of the administration taking a deal to the United Nations first is drawing some heated objections from lawmakers.
“We respect the fact that the administration has the right to do whatever they wish with the U.N. Security Council sanctions that were imposed on Iran. That’s an executive activity. We respect the fact that there are executive sanctions they put in place,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said last week.
“Congress put in place a whole host of congressionally mandated sanctions that really brought Iran to the table. And so what we’re saying is, look, we want a good deal negotiated. But before you start unraveling the ones that Congress put in place, we want to make sure that you show us the deal. That we have access to those classified annexes. That we understand how we’re going to have accountability, enforceability and transparency. We want to know that those things are going to exist. And before you alleviate our sanctions, which means the entire sanctions regime basically unravels, we want to be able to say grace over that,” Corker told CNN.
“I think that’s a responsible place for the United States Senate and I would think that the administration, if they’re going to do a deal that will stand the test of time, move beyond their administration, they would want buy-in from the American people. We represent the American people.”