by WorldTribune Staff, April 9, 2021
Joe Biden’s team on Wednesday said it is prepared to lift sanctions on Iran and return the U.S. to the 2015 nuclear deal that President Donald Trump withdrew from.
The statement drew a prompt response from Israel and the Republican congressional leadership
“We are prepared to take the steps necessary to return to compliance with the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), including by lifting sanctions that are inconsistent with the JCPOA,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.
Price added, however, “I am not in a position here to give you chapter and verse on what those might be.”
Congressional Republicans officially informed the Biden administration on Wednesday that they will not be bound to any new agreement with Iran that promises sanctions relief, according to a copy of that communication obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
The letter from the Republicans “is a sign that any new Iran deal is likely to be plagued by the same weaknesses as the original 2015 accord, which the Obama administration never brought before Congress for approval,” the Free Beacon report said.
Related: Editorial: Kerry’s ‘shadow diplomacy’ with Iran is collusion of the Logan Act kind, September 23, 2018
Also on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu touched on the Iranian nuclear threat during the official ceremony marking the start of Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“The nuclear agreement with Iran is on the table again — but history has taught us that such agreements are worthless. I also say to our best friends: a nuclear agreement that will pave the way for Iran will not bind us,” Netanyahu said.
The fact that the 2015 deal was never ratified by Congress as a formal treaty enabled the Trump administration to easily withdraw from it in 2018.
GOP foreign policy leaders are now warning the Biden administration that any new deal will suffer a similar fate under the next Republican administration.
The lawmakers are also sending a message to Teheran: Anything promised by the Biden administration can be taken back in the near future.
Republican leaders on the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees say that any guarantees provided by the Biden administration, including sanctions relief, will be void unless they are brought before Congress for approval.
“As members of Congress, a co-equal branch of the federal government, we do not consider ourselves bound by executive agreements which purport to make commitments on behalf of the Congress of the United States,” Republican Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana, and Joe Wilson of South Carolina told the administration in a letter addressed to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Not only has Iran scaled back its compliance with the nuclear deal, but the Islamic Republic has brushed off all overtures from the Biden administration aimed at renewing the deal thus far.
On Monday, Price had said the U.S. is prepared to review key sanctions on Iran if it comes into compliance with the nuclear deal.