Today House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) introduced a resolution of disapproval for the Iran nuclear deal, and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said it will receive a vote after Congress returns from recess in September.
Royce sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry yesterday protesting that lawmakers need access to Iran’s deals with the International Atomic Energy Agency to properly review the agreement.
After initially turning down a request to meet with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano will meet with the committee behind closed doors tomorrow.
Iran has publicly protested revealing any details of the agreements it has with the IAEA. “Definitely, the agreements between a country and the UN agency, which are classified, can by no means be available to any other country,” Iranian ambassador to IAEA Reza Najafi said over the weekend, according to Iran’s PressTV.
The documents are not in the possession of the Obama administration, Kerry has said.
Royce said he was recently briefed by Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, who testifies tomorrow before the Senate Banking Committee, and “it is clear” after the meeting with Sherman “that this issue deserves more scrutiny by the Committee.”
“Indeed, all Members of Congress should have access to the separate arrangements negotiated between Iran and the IAEA,” Royce wrote to Kerry. “In recent Congressional testimony, you and other Administration officials emphasized the verification aspects of the Iran nuclear agreement and expressed confidence in the access to suspicious sites that the agreement provides the IAEA. Yet these ‘separate arrangement’ have the potential to seriously weaken our ability to verify the agreement as a whole.”
“…While this may not be typical IAEA practice, there is nothing typical about the Iranian threat or this nuclear agreement.”
McCarthy confirmed that Royce has introduced the disapproval resolution.
“Everything we have learned about this agreement has given Congress and the American people cause for grave concern. Iran still has a legitimate path to a nuclear bomb, Iranian leaders and the Obama Administration have expressed major public disagreements on key tenets of the deal, and ‘snapback’ sanctions are a fallacy,” McCarthy said in a statement. “What’s worse, at least two side deals have been made between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and, thus far, the Obama Administration has refused to share the text of the side deals with Congress.”
“It is clear that this is a bad deal, and the House will vote on disapproval in September,” the whip added.
Along with Royce’s resolution, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kansas) led a letter to President Obama, signed by 94 lawmakers, demanding the text of IAEA deals be delivered to Congress.
“Under the clear language of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which you signed into law, members of Congress are entitled to the text of these two side deals. Specifically, members have a right to all ‘annexes, appendices, codicils, side agreements, implementing materials, documents, and guidance, technical or other understandings and any related agreements, whether entered into or implemented prior to the agreement or to be entered into or implemented in the future.’ Congress’s legal right to these documents creates a corresponding legal obligation for your administration to provide them for our review,” the letter states.
“The JCPOA with Iran is a matter of immense importance to the immediate and long-term security of the United States. Members of Congress have the right and the duty to review every relevant document, every term, and every word of this agreement in order to make an informed decision about whether or not it merits our support. We request that you provide the text of these side deals to Congress as expeditiously as possible. If you do not possess these documents, we request that you immediately secure them from the IAEA and then provide them to Congress.”
“Over the course of the next few weeks, Congress will continue to study the deal, listen to the American people, and make the best choice for our country,” McCarthy said.
Royce said he wished the administration had negotiated “a verifiable, enforceable, and accountable agreement.”
“I do not relish in introducing this consequential legislation,” the chairman added. “But the consequences for global security from this agreement are too great. This deal gives up too much, too fast, to a terrorist state – making the world less safe, less secure, and less stable.”