August 21, 2022

The greatest obstacle to returning to the Iran deal isn’t Iran—it’s Congress

By Jonathan Lord

Since assuming office, President Biden has been attempting to negotiate a return to compliance with the Iran nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which President Trump walked away from in 2018. For months, press reports have signaled that a return to the deal was close at hand, and then not, and then close to happening again.

Leaving the JCPOA may have cost us the most precious commodity: time.

The opaqueness of the process, and uncertainty about what Tehran ultimately wants or can agree to, has fed skepticism about whether an agreement is forthcoming. Beyond the details of the deal being negotiated, it’s hard to imagine what lasting benefit there is for Iran in agreeing to return to a deal that has become so politicized in U.S. politics that any hypothetical Republican successor to Biden — who is currently polling around 40 percent approval — is likely to tear it up on day one of his or her presidency.

But if we suspend our disbelief that the negotiating teams can succeed in overcoming doubts and disagreements, what legally must follow in Washington further complicates a return to the deal: Congress gets a say. While the Obama administration was negotiating the original deal in 2015, Congress passed and the president signed into law the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA). The law gave Congress oversight of the JCPOA.

Read the full article from The Hill.

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