A bipartisan Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act just passed US Senate 98 to 1. “This is a big achievement,” on behalf of the Senate to retake some power from the White House and to reiterate its determination to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, explained Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in a public statement. Since the Obama administration and the Iran government reached the “historical accord” in Lausanne last month, Cyceon warned that much remains to be done before anything really materializes, particularly in the tricky field of economic sanctions. Furthermore, Cyceon thought that the Hill could be a tougher negotiator for the White House to deal with towards a final agreement than Iran itself. Not only have the Republicans won the Senate majority in the latest mid-term elections, but a majority of the Americans do see Iran as the most peace-threatening country in the world although they favor a deal by 2-1 . So do their elected officials at the US Congress.
This Congressional Review resulted from a 1-year-plus-long effort carried out by politicians on both sides of the Hill under the leadership of prominent colleagues like Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). In principle, this “very strong bipartisan coalition” doesn’t reject an agreement with Iran but fears that the White House might be too lenient, therefore eventually encouraging Iran to build nuclear weapons secretly while taking the best out of the agreement, namely less or no longer economic sanctions. There is also strong will on their part to “go through the details” and to participate effectively in the crafting of what would be “one of the most important geopolitical agreements that may take place.” Behind the lines, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), the currently polls-leading candidate for the Republican nomination for the 2016 presidential election, has been particularly active in making sure Iran won’t get it all without giving anything in return.
The least one can say it that Rubio seems convinced that the Obama administration is being cheated by Iran. “We must stand with our ally Israel and stop a nuclear Iran!” tweeted Rubio. Is seems Rubio has already reviewed the agreement by himself and that he’s very unsatisfied about it. With fellow Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) who cast the only dissenting vote against the Review Act and recently exchanged kind words with Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif, Rubio posted amendment No. 1998 to “require a certification that Iran’s leaders have publically accepted Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State.” Here is a requirement that helps to understand how big is the challenge for the Obama administration to reach a national consensus on Iran and how low the chances are that the situation about Iran quickly evolves. Here too the media perception of the Lausanne accord has been quite far from the realities of domestic politics, both in the USA and Iran. However, what these Congressmen may not know, it is that their stance on Iran is surprisingly closer to France’s than Barack Obama’s. And the same is true about Syria too.