US Congress Strats Review of Iran Nuclear Deal
WASHINGTON: The US Congress began a review of the nuclear deal with Iran on Tuesday amid a warning by Secretary of State John Kerry that the United States would lose “all credibility” if Congress or a future president reversed the agreement.
In an interview with the National Public Radio, Secretary Kerry said that if Congress did not approve the deal, which six major powers signed with Iran last week, the consequences would be disastrous. “I’m telling you, the US will have lost all credibility.” In an earlier interview, he told lawmakers that there was no alternative to the agreement he signed in Vienna on July 14.
“If Congress says no to this deal, then there will be no restraints on Iran, there will be no sanctions left,” Mr Kerry said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” programme.
The US State Department released a statement on Monday, saying that it had “transmitted to Congress the joint comprehensive plan of action, its annexes, and related material”. It added that the 60-day review period began on Monday (July 20).
John Kerry warned if Congress killed the deal, five nations – Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany — would blame Washington for its failure. They will lift their sanctions against Tehran without Washington’s consent, he warned.
“Our friends in this effort will desert us.
We will be viewed as having killed the opportunity to stop them from having weapons,” he said. And then Iran “will begin to enrich again, and the greater likelihood is what the (US) president said the other day — you will have a war”, he added.
After the 60-day review period, Congress will send its rejection or approval to President Obama. He will have 12 days to make a decision. Mr Obama has already said he would veto a rejection. Congress will then have a maximum of 10 days to override the veto.
Since President Obama’s rival Republicans dominate both chambers of Congress, political observers in Washington say the lawmakers will probably reject the agreement.
But then they will need 67 votes in the 100-member Senate to override the veto. So far, the Republicans are 12 short of the required number.