President Hussein Obama is trying to do an end-run
around Congress by obtaining binding United Nations
approval for his Iran deal before Congress has time
to vote. This is from an email from Omri Ceren.

Lead negotiator Wendy Sherman confirmed for
journalists yesterday that the Obama administration
will, over the next few days, pursue a binding
United Nations Security Council resolution (UNSCR)
that will lift sanctions on Iran. The resolution was
circulated yesterday by the U.S. and a leaked text is already online. When asked how
the move could be reconciled with the 60 day Congressional review period 
mandated by the Corker legislation, Sherman sarcastically responded that you can't
really say "well excuse me, the world, you should wait for the United States Congress"
because there has to be some way for "the international community to speak." She noted
that at least the UNSCR would have a 90 day interim period before its mandatory
obligations kick in.

The gambit undermines the Corker bill - to say nothing of American sovereignty - on
multiple levels. On a policy level, the UNSCR on its own would compel American action
even if Congress rejects the Iran deal. On a political level, the administration intends to
take the UNSCR and go to lawmakers while they're considering the deal and say 'you
can't reject the agreement because it would put America in violation of international

The pushback from the Hill yesterday was immediate and furious. Corker: "an affront to
the American people... an affront to Congress and the House of Representatives". Cardin:
"it would be better not to have action on the U.N. resolution". Cruz: "our
Administration intended all along to circumvent this domestic review by moving the
agreement to the UN Security Council before the mandatory 60-day review period ends". 
Kirk: "a breathtaking assault on American sovereignty and Congressional prerogative". 
McConnell: "violates the spirit of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, which
the President signed into law... inconceivable - yet sadly not surprising".
The Washington Post article at the bottom covers some of those statements and has a
bunch of background. The story will develop throughout the day and through the
beginning of next week. It's going to be particularly brutal given that the Corker
legislation was created and passed to stop exactly this scenario.

Remember how we got here. The March 9 Cotton letter, signed by 47 Senators,
declared that without Congressional buy-in any deal with Iran would not be binding on
future presidents.

Iranian FM Zarif responded with a temper tantrum in which he revealed that the parties
intended to fast-track an UNSCR that would make Congress irrelevant and tie the hands
of future presidents: "I wish to enlighten the authors that if the next administration
revokes any agreement with the stroke of a pen, as they boast, it will have simply
committed a blatant violation of international law". That created a firestorm of
 from the Hill. Zarif doubled down from the stage at NYU: "within a few days
after [an agreement] we will have a resolution in the security council ... which will be
mandatory for all member states, whether Senator Cotton likes it or not".

And so Congress responded with the Corker legislation. 98 Senators and 400 Representatives
passed the bill with the intention of preventing the Obama administration from immediately
going to the U.N. after an agreement and making good on Zarif's boast. President Obama
signed the bill. Now the administration is doing exactly what the legislation was designed to

 The Washington Post adds:
In a letter Thursday, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Foreign Relations
Committee, and ranking Democrat Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (Md.) urged Obama to
postpone U.N. consideration of the agreement until Congress can review it and
potentially vote on its own assessment.

The Republican chairmen of the House Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs committees
sent a similar letter to the White House on Wednesday.

In a compromise reached in May with Congress, Obama agreed not to use his authority
to waive U.S. sanctions against Iran for at least 60 days after a deal was reached. The
review begins when the text of the agreement is delivered to lawmakers this weekend.

During that period, Congress has the option of voting, by a simple majority, to
“disapprove” it and permanently bar a sanctions waiver. Obama has said he would
veto such legislation. For the moment, the administration is certain it has enough votes
among Democrats to prevent a veto override, which requires a two-thirds vote in both

If a veto were overridden — cementing Congress’s official disapproval — a State
Department official said this week that “we don’t have authority to provide U.S.
sanctions relief” and that “the deal won’t proceed.”

White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz said Thursday that “we will not
begin implementation of the plan until after the congressional review period is over.”
The 90-day delay, officials said, also gives Iran time to begin taking steps to comply
with the deal and allows the International Atomic Energy Agency to prepare for its
inspection and verification role.

That's not the point. If the UN passes a binding resolution and then Congress says 'no,'
then what? The whole point is to give Congress its say - essentially making any US
signature on a deal non-binding - until Congress votes up or down. Obama agreed to that
in May. Now he's welching on his agreement. Color me unsurprised.

UPDATE 7:09 PM ~ original article

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