Congressional scrutiny and approval of any nuclear agreement with Iran are essential and will help ensure the deal isn’t a bad one, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Sunday.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said Congress has a responsibility to scour the details of a final plan — including any classified annexes — ask the Obama administration hard questions and then vote on it. Negotiators announced on Thursday a framework deal, which would be finalized by June 30.
“It’s very important that Congress is in the middle of this, understanding, teasing out, asking those important questions,” Corker said.
Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” Corker sought to counter President Obama’s assertion that partisan politics in Washington could derail the landmark agreement to curb Iran’s bomb-capable nuclear technology.
Congressional oversight “doesn’t mean there won’t be a deal,” Corker said. “We just set in place a process to insure that if there’s a deal, it’s a deal that will stand the test of time, that will keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.”
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to meet April 14 to consider Corker’s legislation to ensure that Congress debates and signs off on any pact. The bill requires the president to transmit, within five days of reaching a final deal, the text of the full agreement along with materials related to its implementation.
With key elements still to be finalized, the framework agreement sealed by U.S.-led world powers describes a program for stunting Iran’s capacity to produce nuclear weapons while giving Tehran quick access to assets and markets now blocked by international sanctions.
In defending the framework and a potential final pact, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz cited what he called “unprecedented access and transparency” into Iran’s nuclear activities that will allow the U.S. and its partner negotiators to know almost instantly should Iran try to evade the oversight. This is a long-term arrangement, he stressed, with requirements lasting a quarter century or longer.