Senators from both sides of the aisle have compromised over a bill allowing congressional review of any final nuclear deal with Iran. The measure calls for the lifting of santions only with legislative approval.
In a show of bipartisanship over what has been a hotly contested issue in Washington, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a measure Tuesday that struck a compromise between Congress' wish to be involved in a final nuclear deal with Iran and the White House's concern that such a deal be completed by June.
The Senate panel unanimously approved the measure with a vote of 19-0. The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 allows Congress to review the deal before any US sanctions against Iran are lifted, to be followed by a 12-day period for a possible presidential veto and a 10-day window for an attempt to override such a veto.
President Obama withdrew his objection to the bill after language was removed obligating him to prove that Tehran was not engaging in terrorism. Another controversial amendment was removed by its author Marco Rubio following the announcement of his 2016 presidential bid. The amendment would have required Iran to recognize Israel's right to exist.
The vote came after the bill's author, Republican Bob Corker, and Democrat Ben Cardin struck a compromise on language. Corker and Cardin were adamant that their bill would allow further talks between Iran and the so-called P5+1 - Britain, France, China, Russia, Germany and the United States – to continue unhindered by congressional intervention.
"It is clear we will only act after the administration presents us with an agreement," Cardin said, emphasizing that the Obama administration would only be able to lift sanctions on Tehran with Congress' approval, adding that "only Congress can permanently change or modify the sanctions regime."
The measure requires President Obama to prepare several detailed reports for Congress on issues ranging from Iran's ballistic missile program to its support for terrorism, especially anything threatening Americans.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee convened following a visit to Capitol Hill by Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday to assuage concerns about the agreement with Tehran. Now that the measure has been approved by the panel, it will advance to the Senate floor for a full vote.
es/bw (AFP, dpa)