Obama Not Waiting for Congress to Review Iran Deal Before Going to UN

By Patrick Goodenough | July 15, 2015 | 5:03 AM EDT

President Obama said on Tuesday that the Iran nuclear agreement will be 'memorialized and endorsed in a new United Nations Security Council resolution.' (UN Photo/Loey Felipe, File)

(CNSNews.com) – Despite a legal obligation to allow Congress to review the Iran nuclear agreement for 60 days, the Obama administration will press ahead with a U.N. Security Council resolution enshrining the deal, likely within days.

“We will be introducing a U.N. Security Council resolution perhaps as early as next week,” a senior administration official told reporters in a background conference call from Vienna, hours after the final agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was announced.

The official said the resolution wording had already been drafted in Vienna, with the U.S. in the lead.

In New York, a diplomat at the U.N. told the Associated Press the U.S. will circulate the draft on Wednesday morning, while back in Vienna, Secretary of State John Kerry said implementation of the agreement with Iran will begin “within 90 days of the U.N. Security Council endorsing the deal.”

Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) expressed concern about what he called a “rush to the U.N.” on the part of the administration.

After chairing a hearing Tuesday on the implications of the nuclear deal, Royce said he discussed the matter in a phone call with Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken.

“I urged that the Obama administration not seek action at the U.N. Security Council on the agreement before Congress can review it in detail during the legislatively-mandated congressional review period,” Royce said.

The administration is pushing for quick action in the Security Council despite President Obama’s assertions that he welcomes congressional examination of the JCPOA.

“I welcome a robust debate in Congress on this issue and I welcome scrutiny of the details of this agreement,” he said in his Tuesday morning JCPOA announcement.

The 60-day review period mandated by Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, signed by Obama in May, can only begin once the administration submits the full text, along with annexes and related material including assessments on compliance and non-proliferation, to Congress.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee will then hold hearings on the agreement, and Congress may then vote on a joint resolution approving the agreement, or one rejecting it. It may also take no action, although Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) indicated Tuesday that a vote could take place in early September.

Should a resolution of disapproval be passed, Obama confirmed on Tuesday that he would veto it – a move that would require two-thirds supermajority to override.

“Precisely because the stakes are so high this is not the time for politics or posturing,” Obama said in comments aimed at a skeptical Congress. “Tough talk from Washington does not solve problems. Hard-nosed diplomacy, leadership that has united the world's major powers offers a more effective way to verify that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapon.”

Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow