New senate committee could strengthen Trump’s hand against Iran

A change in leadership for the Democratic Party on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee could alter the ongoing negotiations between lawmakers and the Donald Trump administration over the Iran nuclear deal.

Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey is set to take back the position of ranking committee chair from Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, following Menendez’s clearing on federal corruption charges.

Both senators disapproved of the agreement when it first came to Congress in 2015, but Menendez has been particularly vocal in his criticism of it.

Menendez also has close links to many Israel advocacy groups in the US- including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, who also oppose the nuclear deal. In fact, Menedez was the Democrat on the Senate committee to vote to approve David Friedman as Trump’s pick for ambassador to Israel.

Although it is worth noting that Menendez – a noted Iran hawk- did disapprove of Trump decision not to “certify” Iran’s compliance to the nuclear deal, in October, for fears it would alienate US allies in Europe.

Menendez said: “Not certifying now does nothing but create uncertainty among our allies and embolden an already belligerent Iran. Instead of alienating our allies, the president should be leveraging certification to get their commitment to join our efforts to more robustly counter the Iranian regime’s indisputably nefarious behaviour.”

This does appear to be the path that Trump is taking now. In mid-January, Trump vowed that if the problems with the deal were not fixed by May, he would withdraw the US from the international accord, between the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (the US, the UK, France, Russia, and China) and Germany.

This means that over the next three months the US can work with its allies to rein in the Iranian Regime’s malign behaviour, which is something that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hopes to achieve in his negotiations with Britain, France and Germany.

The idea is that an addendum agreement, between the US and EU, would add terms to the accord without any need for renegotiation with Iran and thus mean that the Iranian Regime would not be able to make further demands.

The White House needs Congress to pass a law amending the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, which will require the agreements of both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, Bob Corker of Tennessee, and its ranking member, Menendez.

Source » ncr-iran

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