Bipartisan pair wants commission to oversee Iran deal

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Washington, September 27, 2017 | comments

Rebecca Kheel


A bipartisan pair of lawmakers has introduced legislation that would create a commission to oversee the Iran nuclear deal, as President Trump approaches a deadline to certify whether Tehran is in compliance.

“Increasing public transparency surrounding the Iran deal’s implementation is a critical priority,” Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) said in a statement Wednesday.

“Congress has a role to play in effective oversight of this agreement, and we must assert that role regardless of whether the president certifies Iran’s compliance. This commission ensures that the effort to constrain the Iranian nuclear program receives the attention it deserves.”

Connolly, who supported the Iran deal, and freshman Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.) propose creating a 20-member commission in the style of the Helsinki Commission that oversees relations with Europe.

Connolly introduced a similar bill in 2015 after the Iran deal was negotiated, but it went nowhere.

Trump faces a congressionally mandated Oct. 15 deadline to certify whether Iran remains in compliance with the landmark accord that gave Tehran billions of dollars of sanctions relief in exchange for curbing its nuclear program.

He has certified Iran’s compliance with the deal twice before, but has indicated he may not do so a third time.

At his United Nations speech last week, Trump called the deal an “embarrassment,” adding that “I don’t think you have heard the last of it.”

The next day he told reporters he’s made a decision on the deal, but refused to say more.

If Trump does not certify Iran’s compliance, Congress will have 60 days to decide whether to re-impose sanctions.

Under Connolly and Rooney’s bill, eight senators, eight House members and a representative each from the departments of State, Defense, Treasury and Energy would form the Commission to Verify Iranian Nuclear Compliance.

The members of Congress would be appointed by the Republican and Democratic leadership of each chamber, as well as the chairmen and ranking members of the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations committees.

“Iran cannot be trusted to act in good faith or be allowed to move forward with development of nuclear weapons,” Rooney said in a statement. “This bill is a good first step in ensuring that Iran acts within the boundaries of the agreement that was previously made.”

In a joint statement, Rooney and Connolly said creating the commission would tell Iran and U.S. allies that America is committed to ensuring Iran remains in compliance.

“Congress should act immediately to advance one of the rare proposals on Capitol Hill that has garnered support from both sides of the heated JCPOA debate,” they said.

http://thehill.com/policy/defense/352686-bipartisan-pair-wants-commission-to-oversee-iran-deal
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