The battle between Democrats and Republicans for the November elections reaches the Nuclear Agreement

Joe Biden (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque) (KEVIN LAMARQUE/)

The disputes in the race for the mid-term elections to be held next November seem to deepen in US politics.

A group of Republican senators speculates that the president’s administration Joe Biden try to neutralize Congress holding a session to vote for the return to Nuclear Agreement signed during the presidency of Barack Obama in 2015, which was known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). That agreement passed the review process carried out by Congress that year. However, Republican sectors are warning that the Biden administration is considering arguing that the presentation of the new text to revive the agreement does not need to go through Congress again to be voted on and enter into force. Some commentators from the CBS network -although they have not said so explicitly- slipped the Republican discomfort due to statements by Democratic representatives in Congress and warned this week that the Democratic senators intend to impose that argument to avoid a vote and block a new review before the elections.

According to Republican senators, such action would be unconstitutional and would incur a clear violation of the role of Congress in terms of supervision of legal acts of importance to the politics and national security of the United States.

On the other hand, US, Iranian and European diplomacy and negotiating teams – representatives of the EU – have expressed thate the dialogues and indirect talks on the final draft of the new agreement have come to an end and that the parties expressed satisfaction in the last dialogues despite minor differences. However, like the 2015 deal, the new deal imposes temporary restrictions on Iran‘s nuclear program in exchange, European and US negotiators said, for favoring the Islamic Republic of Iran with a comprehensive package of flexibilities and unfreezing of proceeds. of the sanctions imposed in the past. The talks seem to be about to conclude favorably in a few days and the Biden administration is focused on perfecting and signing the new agreement, although it has not been able to clarify the doubts raised by the Republican sectors in the US Congress.

The president’s latest comments hinted that the negotiations in Vienna opened the door to a new agreement and that the parties committed to comply with the original JCPOA signed in 2015. The words of Biden’s negotiators raised further questions from Republicans, who speculate that the president is outlining a strategy to block and -eventually- avoid a session in Congress to carry out a debate to review the new agreement so that this review leads to a vote that endorses it as required by the Agreement Review Act Nuclear 2015 (INARA for its acronym in English). If this does not go down those constitutional paths, the Republicans would accuse the Democratic bloc of failing to comply with what was promised last May by the Special Representative of the State Department for Iran, Rob Malley, who promised to present any new agreement for review in Congress, as indicated by the Review Law (within 5 business days after the signing of any agreement on nuclear matters). The Revision Law establishes unavoidable procedural aspects so that the agreements are perfected by Congress and also the formality to vote their approval if it is decided that it is within the constitutional framework.

The US House of Representatives (EFE/ Jim Lo Scalzo)
The US House of Representatives (EFE/ Jim Lo Scalzo) (EFEI0342/)

Several legislators have called attention to the Revision Law, alleging trickery by the administration on said Law enacted by Congress in 2015, almost at the same time that the JCPOA was in its final negotiation stage during the management of the President Barack Obama. At the time, the administration showed a penchant for bypassing Congress and not presenting the deal as a “Treaty”; This situation caused several legislators from both parties to ask for explanations about the degree and levels of commitment of the United States in the agreement.

At the same time and as a majority within Congress together with the majority of members of the Chamber, they jointly and favorably voted for the approval of the Revision Law, safeguarding the power to review that and future agreements; defining the word deal “generally and broadly” in order to neutralize the Obama administration’s intent to evade lawmakers’ review. There it was made explicit that the president has the inexcusable obligation to report on any agreement regardless of whether it is legally binding or only a political commitment.

The terms of the new agreement have not yet been publicly disclosed by the administration. However, as far as reported, it includes substantial changes to the original JCPOA. Consequently, considering that the successor of Barack Obama, also the former president donald trumpwithdrew from the JCPOA more than 4 years ago, the Republicans have declared that the agreement will not be able to return to 2015 in the form and framework in which it had been formed without considering the decision of the Trump administration and the reasons why the then head of the White House rescinded that original agreement.

The Republican claim indicates that from where it is evaluated – formally or legally – a return to the original agreement or a new one with modifications, is inexorably equivalent to that it must be debated under the Congressional Review Act for agreements and treaties in nuclear matters. On the other hand, during the review process and before it has been voted positively by Congress, the Biden administration is prohibited from carrying out actions within the framework of that agreement; which is equivalent to saying that the president would be unable to lift sanctions or carry out any other related measure. In this way, he would not be allowed to unfreeze assets of one of the parties involved in the new agreement, which prevents the administration from offering any agreed benefit immediately and until the new agreement is reviewed and approved by Congress. Republicans maintain that this is the reason why the Democratic administration intends to play down the elevation of the agreement to congressmen to avoid the Review Law. The weeks remaining for the half-time elections have exacerbated that dispute between the Republican leadership and the president, and the debate has settled in broad sectors of the citizenry.

However, the idea of ​​the administration is to reach a quick and positive agreement for the parties, hence the complaint by Republican legislators who accuse Biden of wanting to do it without review by Congress and insist that they initiate a lawsuit against the president alleging that the members of Congress have sufficient power and legal capacity to go against the executive power when the Nation has suffered or is in danger of suffering irreparable damage to its institutions, which would lead to the annulment of any agreement that does not observe the normal procedure of the Review Act by the US House and Senate.

The problem is that to the extent that members of Congress sue President Biden and request precautionary measures, they would surely delay and block any agreement reached, which would increase the danger of a war scenario that the United States neither wants nor wants in the Middle East. .

The Republicans maintain that their complaint will show the public the innumerable deficiencies of the original JCPOA signed by former President Obama and that it would also reveal the provisions of the new agreement that the Biden administration does not want to make public, something that has been denounced by some few media outlets in Washington. Another controversy raised by the Republicans in the middle of the race for the mid-term elections is what will happen if the dialogues and the promises made by the Biden administration are not fulfilled.

Failure to comply on the US side would send an extremely negative message to the international community that would jeopardize the current agreement and any other agreement in a future Republican administration that might emerge from the upcoming 2024 presidential election, which would pave the way for on the way to a scenario in which the next governments must adopt a tougher approach not only in the military, but also in the business, as investors move away from diplomatic crises that could lead to possible armed conflicts. Hence, if the Biden administration really wants to reach a genuine and favorable agreement for all parties, it should do so in compliance with US laws and institutions and not through gimmicks by confronting or circumventing Congress and legality.


The White House described as “unforgivable” the death of the young Iranian who was detained by the morality police for not wearing a veil