Senate panel approves congressional review of Iran deal


WASHINGTON (JTA) — A key Senate committee approved a bill mandating congressional review of any Iran nuclear deal, and the White House said it would not block the measure.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday afternoon voted 19-0 to approve the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act.

Intensive negotiations over recent days between the committee chairman, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who authored the bill, and its top Democrat, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), stripped elements that the White House found objectionable, including linking sanctions relief to Iranian actions on terrorism, and shortened the review time from 60 days to 30 days.

Obama had threatened to veto earlier versions of the bill, but Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman, said before the vote that if reports on the compromise legislation bore out, that would no longer be the case.

“That would be the kind of compromise the president would be willing to sign,” Earnest said.

The major powers and Iran announced earlier this month the outline of a nuclear deal that would swap sanctions relief for restrictions aimed at keeping Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

Israel and a number of Republican senators have strongly opposed the deal, saying it would leave Iran a nuclear weapons threshold state. The deadline for a final deal is June 30.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee praised the Senate committee for reporting the bill to the full body, where it is guaranteed passage.

“Congress should review any agreement to ensure it meets U.S. objectives and object if it fails to do so,” AIPAC said in a statement.

“Serious concerns have been raised over the framework understanding. A final deal, with its immense national security implications, must be subjected to the constitutional system of checks and balances that is the bedrock of our democracy.”

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