Doesn’t it seem odd that both Obama and Biden had to resort to extraconstitutional means to do a nuclear deal with Iran?
In Obama’s case the entire Obamabomb deal was sent to Congress under an extraordinary process that bypassed the Constitution’s Senate “advice and consent” provision for treaties. In a convoluted process designed by RINO and now former Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee the Senate did not take an up or down vote on the treaty as a treaty.
As every civics student knows each Congress starts fresh and cannot be bound by the actions of a past Congress – laws can and regularly are amended or repealed and the U.S. government can and regularly does renegotiate or withdraw from treaties. Now, Biden is trying to figure out how to finesse the Constitution and give Iran a guarantee that a future [read Trump] administration won’t pull out of the deal and reimpose maximum pressure sanctions.
In a must-read article for Tablet Magazine, Gabriel Noronha documents how the Biden administration is working to have Russia act as a guarantor for parts of the treaty and to try to set up a mechanism to prevent a future Congress from voiding all or parts of the treaty.
For most of last year, reported Mr. Noronha, Republican Senator Ted Cruz blocked Biden’s nominees over the administration’s refusal to sanction the Russo-German Nord Stream 2 pipeline until Majority Leader Chuck Schumer agreed to hold a vote on sanctioning it. Vindicated in that fight on a grand scale by Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Cruz is perhaps even more animated by Iran oversight. He told me that the Biden administration “has been doing everything possible to hide details of their catastrophic new deal, including having nominees lie in writing to Congress about it,” a reference to Barbara Leaf, Biden’s nominee to serve as the State Department’s assistant secretary for near eastern affairs. Cruz warned that Biden’s officials “hid details because they’re going to lift terrorism sanctions, give Putin billion-dollar nuclear energy carveouts, and agree to a deal that’s even weaker than the last one, which soon expires.”
And Sen. Cruz’s focus on sanctions application and waivers on nuclear deals between Russia and Iran is merited.
In February 2022, on the verge of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the State Department provided sanctions waivers for Russia and others to work with Iran’s civilian nuclear program. As part of the nuclear deal, the United States has also pledged to not sanction the Russian nuclear work in Iran, leaving the $10 billion contract with Rosatom immune from the possibility of sanction even though Rosatom was directly involved in the takeover of two major Ukrainian nuclear power plants, including Chernobyl. According to Iranian negotiators, this guarantee is another inviolable issue for Tehran, reported Mr. Noronha.
Democrats may feel comfortable trying to block some of the Iranian oversight initiatives, observed Mr. Noronha, but they will face a much harder job defending a $10 billion line-of-credit to Vladimir Putin, while at the same time arguing for the importance of sanctioning Russia for its war in Ukraine. If Democrats truly want to punish Putin and his network of complicit companies, they would need to target and isolate Rosatom and its work in Iran. If Congress manages to claim this scalp in 2022, it will be one more crack in the deal that takes it closer to collapse.
After news of Biden’s free pass on Russia’s $10 billion contract broke in March, Ted Cruz and 12 of his Senate colleagues introduced legislation that would terminate this waiver altogether and prevent the president from issuing any new ones. Cruz warned that “The Biden administration is so committed to their deal that they are willing to make Iran a nuclear client for Putin … Congress must put a stop to it.”
Biden’s long struggle to finesse the requirements of the Constitution is further proof of the Rasley dicta on regular legislative order, which holds that any and all matters handled outside of regular order are inherently bad and likely unconstitutional because they require extraordinary suspension of the Constitution’s checks and balances to pass.
The toll-free Capitol Switchboard (1-866-220-0044), call today and tell your Senators and Representative you demand they vote NO on any bill or treaty lifting sanctions on Iran and allowing the Islamic Republic to resume nuclear weapons production.
Joe Biden foreign policy
Obama Iran Deal
Yemen Civil War