Congress considers Pres. Obama’s Iran deal

Robert Menendez, Bob CorkerOn April 24, an Iranian negotiator told Reuters that a nuclear deal is being drafted and that progress is steady but slow. Diplomats hope to fill gaps in the April 2 framework and are holding to a June 30 deadline.

The April 2 framework would check Iran’s nuclear program in return for a release from economic sanctions.

It would also calm Western fears about Iran developing an atomic bomb. Iranian officials said sanctions must be lifted as soon as any deal is signed.

The U.S. continues to push for a more gradual lifting of restrictions as Iran proves it will hold up its end. Under the current framework, it would take a year for relief of penalties to kick in,The Washington Post reported. Under the framework, Iran would accept 10 years of nuclear restrictions and international inspections.

It also created parameters for months of negotiating over various details.

Any of said details could kill a comprehensive agreement in the water, The Washington Post reported.

“The political understanding with details that we have reached is a solid foundation for the good deal we are seeking,” Secretary of State John Kerry said.

“We are at the preliminary stages, and the pace is slow but good,” Iranian negotiator Abbas Araqchi told Reuters.

“The Europeans and Americans have made good clarifications about lifting of the sanctions.”

Negotiators must decide on the future of Iran’s atomic research and development, what kind of uranium stockpile Iran can have and any constraints on United Nations monitoring of Iran’s nuclear program, Reuters reported.

The international diplomats involved represent China, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and the United States as well as to the European Union.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said on April 22 that Congress should insist on international inspections.

Graham suggested it would be difficult to get Senate approval for any deal the White House offers, and that he himself would not approve any deal that does not allow for international inspections.

“If there is a bipartisan group of senators rejecting the deal, they need to start over and get a better deal,” Graham told USA Today.

The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 mandates that Congress be given the full text of the agreement within a week of its being reached.

The President must also certify to Congress that the agreement meets America’s “non-proliferation objectives” among other mandates.

However, it also states that Congress’ approval is not necessary for any agreement to commence. Israel has also kept close watch over the proceedings.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the April 2 framework was a “dream deal for Iran and a nightmare deal for the world.” Some Jewish Israelis of Iranian descent are also concerned.

Avi Hanassab, a cook living in Tel Aviv, told TheWashington Post that he was sure Iran would trick the other nations and the European Union.

“They sent their best negotiators to negotiate with the States and Europe,” Hanassab stated. “The Persians are very smart.”

Hanassab’s parents left Iran for Israel in the 1960s.

Accountant Aharon Davidi said he is “one hundred percent” certain that Iran is lying about its intentions. Davidi and Hanassab are among 140,000 Iranian Jewish people in Israel. The White House, however, remains   optimistic for the chances of the deal to succeed.

“This is our best bet by far to make sure Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon,” President Obama told The New York Times.

-Dionna Cheatham ’15, Junior Politics/Opinions Editor

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