White House vows to veto bill mandating congressional review of Iran deal


WASHINGTON (JTA) — The White House said it will veto a bill that would subject any Iran nuclear deal to congressional approval.

The bill, which was introduced Friday by leading senators from both parties, would keep the president from suspending sanctions on Iran for 60 days while Congress considers any deal.

The White House maintains that any new legislation would scuttle talks underway.

“The president has been clear that now is not the time for Congress to pass additional legislation on Iran,” Bernadette Meehan, the spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said in an email.

“If this bill is sent to the president, he will veto it. We are in the final weeks of an international negotiation. We should give our negotiators the best chance of success, rather than complicating their efforts.”

The bill was introduced by Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), its ranking Democrat; Tim Kaine (D-Va.), the chairman of its Middle East subcommittee; and Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the foreign operations subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee.

Kaine’s support is especially notable, as the Virginia lawmaker has been among the administration’s most consistent backers in its participation in the nuclear talks between Iran and the major powers.

“I believe Congress should weigh in on the content of the deal given the centrality of the congressional sanctions to the entire negotiation and the significant security interests involved,” Kaine said in the statement announcing the bill.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which is holding its annual conference in Washington this week, added the bill to the agenda for its lobbying day on Tuesday, when thousands of activists head to Capitol Hill.

Already on its agenda is seeking co-sponsorship for a bill that would add new sanctions on Iran should it walk away from talks.

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