The suspense over the immediate fate of US President Barack Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran is over; but the bitter, polarized debate over the deal will continue; one thing for sure is that the complexity of the agreement and the need to make sure Iran complies with its provisions mean it will remain a live issue for the foreseeable future.
Republicans won’t be content with symbolic opposition; they’re also proposing legislation that could undermine the deal before it goes fully into effect.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has said he will start by pushing for a 10-year renewal of the 1996 Iran Sanctions Act, the legislative umbrella for many U.S. economic sanctions against Iran.
That will put Democrats in a ticklish spot. Even the Obama administration agrees that the sanctions law should be renewed — just not yet. (The law doesn’t expire until the end of next year.)
Several other GOP senators, including presidential candidate Marco Rubio, have said they will propose new sanctions to punish Iran for its non-nuclear meddling in the Middle East.
"My administration will take whatever means are necessary" to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, "including military means," Obama pledged in a letter to members of Congress last month. "We will maintain powerful sanctions targeting Iran’s support for groups such as Hezbollah … and its human rights abuses at home."
So the agreement’s survival in Congress is only the beginning of a long process. It won’t be easy for this president and his successor to make the deal work. Critics can’t be expected to stop criticizing a deal they abhor