Senate foreign policy leaders urge Obama to delay U.N. vote on Iran


WASHINGTON (JTA) — The top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee urged President Obama to postpone a U.N. Security Council vote on the Iran deal, saying it usurps the role of Congress.

Under the Iran nuclear deal reached this week in Vienna between the major powers and Iran, the U.N. Security Council must endorse its terms.

Foreign Policy reported Wednesday that Samantha Power, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations, is circulating a draft resolution on the council that would endorse the deal. Such an endorsement would be legally binding and could inhibit any bid by Congress to reject the deal.

“The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, a bill which 98 Senators and 400 Representatives supported and you signed, established a 60-day period for Congress to consider the nuclear agreement,” said the letter to Obama Thursday by Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Ben Cardin, D-Md., respectively the chairman and ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, which will be among the first bodies to review the Iran deal.

“We are deeply concerned that your administration plans to enable the United Nations Security Council to vote on the agreement before the United States Congress can do the same,” the letter said.

“Doing so would be contrary to your statement 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,'” it said. “We urge you to postpone the vote at the United Nations until after Congress considers this agreement.”

Cardin until now has backed Obama’s Iran policy procedures, although he has yet to say whether he favors the deal.

A number of Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Mark-Kirk, R-Ill., and Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., the chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, have said they see the Security Council vote as an end run around Congress.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, warned Obama in a letter that he would use his prerogative to block State Department funds and nominees until he receives an assurance from the president that the Security Council vote would be delayed until after congressional review of the deal.

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