Democratic and Republican members of Congress have expressed opposition over the administration’s decision to allow the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to vote on the Iran deal before the U.S. Congress has had its 60-day review period. The U.S. has already introduced a draft of the resolution to the UNSC, and the vote will take place on Monday.
On Thursday, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman confirmed for reporters that the UN vote would take place before the 60-day period ended, intimating that the administration does not have time wait on Congress. She said that the Iran deal, a product of the United Nations, must be submitted to the UNSC for an endorsement and that the administration cannot simply say “well excuse me, the world, you should wait for the United States Congress.”
The top leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-Md.), reacted to the news by penning a letter to the president urging him to allow Congress to review the deal first and expressing their united concern that the administration would permit the UNSC to vote before Congress. The bipartisan letter reminded the president that his move contradicts his previous statement where he said that “it’s important for the American people and Congress to get a full opportunity to review this deal…our national security policies are stronger and more effective when they are subject to the scrutiny and transparency that democracy demands.”
Following a closed-door session with Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Corker declared, “This is exactly what we were trying to stop. We wanted the American people to understand this agreement before it went in place.” Sen. Cardin told the vice president that “[t]here was nothing to be lost by waiting until after the review period was over.” In his letter to President Obama, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) wrote, “It seems your administration intended all along to circumvent this domestic review.”
The passage of the Corker-Cardin legislation in May, which provided for the review period, signaled to the White House that Congress demanded input on the final deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program. In the end, 98 Senators and 400 Representatives passed the bill to ensure that Congress had a voice before the administration crafted a final deal that went to the UNSC for an endorsement.
The nuclear agreement with Iran will “wreak havoc” across the Middle East, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States for nearly 25 years, wrote in an op-ed, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
Writing for the London-based Arabic news Web site Elaph, Badar suggests that President Obama is knowingly making a bad deal, while President Bill Clinton had made a deal with North Korea with the best intentions and the best information he had. The new deal will “wreak havoc” in the Middle East, which is already destabilized due to Iranian actions, Bandar writes.
Writing about the failed deal with North Korea, which was agreed in 1994 and collapsed in 2003, Bandar says, “it turned out that the strategic foreign policy analysis was wrong and there was a major intelligence failure.” He added that if Clinton had known the full picture, “I am absolutely confident he would not have made that decision.”
The Saudi royal then contrasts this with the present situation with Iran, “where the strategic foreign policy analysis, the national intelligence information, and America’s allies in the region’s intelligence all predict not only the same outcome of the North Korean nuclear deal but worse – with the billions of dollars that Iran will have access to.”
The Saudi media has been sharply critical of the announced nuclear deal with Iran. The growing concern over the deal prompted an unprecedented meeting between representatives of Israel and Saudi Arabia last month. Earlier this year, Prince Turki bin Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s former intelligence chief, warned that the nuclear deal would lead to nuclear proliferation across the region. (via TheTower.org)