The US State Department Spokesman announced Sunday that the Obama Administration had triggered the 60-day review period for Obama's Iranian Nuclear Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action ("JCPOA"), the Iran nuclear deal announced in Vienna earlier in July.
Pursuant to the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, the Obama Administration designated Monday, July 20, as "Day One" under the 60-Day Review Period. Meanwhile, on the United Nations track, Obama has set Monday for the adoption of the JCPOA at the United Nations Security Council.
Under the Review Act, both houses of Congress have 60 days to vote to disapprove of the JCPOA, otherwise the JCPOA is automatically deemed approved and all the Iran sanctions designated in the JCPOA will be immediately terminated.
If both houses of Congress vote to disapprove, then President Barack Obama can, and will, veto the Congressional disapproval. If Obama vetoes the disapproval, then both houses of the Congress must vote to override the presidential veto with a super-majority two-thirds vote.
This means that if Obama can hold merely 34 Democrat Senators, he will guarantee approval of the JCPOA by denying a Congressional override of his veto of the disapproval.
To trigger the Iran Nuke Review Act, as required by the law, the "State Department transmitted to Congress the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, its annexes, and related materials. These documents include the Unclassified Verification Assessment Report on the JCPOA and the Intelligence Community's Classified Annex to the Verification Assessment Report."
Nuke Review Act – why?
It remains a mystery why AIPAC lobbied for – and the Congressional Republicans originally passed – the Iran Nuke Review Act to begin with.
Had AIPAC not pushed for, and the Republicans not recently passed the Iran Nuke Review Act, the Republican congressional majority would have easily stonewalled the congressionally required termination of the existing US sanctions laws. Any such termination would have required a majority of both houses of Congress.
So, instead of relying on their Republican guaranteed majority to effectively reject the Iran Nuke deal by not terminating the sanctions, the Republicans legislatively shifted the constitutional power of approval of the Iran Nuke deal to Democratic minority which controls the necessary one-third plus one (1/3 + 1) of either the Senate or the House to deny a Congressional override of a Presidential veto.
With Obama controlling only one-third plus one of either house, Obama insured approval of the Iran deal by guaranteeing the defeat of the Congressional override of what was certain to be Obama's veto of the first Congressional "disapproval."
This means either 34 Democratic senators and/or 146 House Democrats now have the absolute power to stop the Congressional override of Obama's veto. That's why, last week, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told FOX News, “It’s going to be a very hard sell, if it’s completed, in Congress. . . He [Obama] can win on Iran and this deal with holding 34 Democrats because that’s the way the [Iran Nuke deal] approval process is structured.”
What Sen. McConnell failed to explain was why Sen. Bob Corker and the Republicans engineered, and passed "the way the [Iran Nuke deal] approval process is structured."
Given that structure, it is virtually impossible that any Congressional override will succeed because while some Democrats may vote to override Obama, most of the Democrats will surely vote with President Obama's Iran Nuke Deal.
In short, the Iran Nuke Review Act of 2015 passed by the Republicans and lobbied for by AIPAC absolutely guaranteed future Congressional approval of any Iran deal before the Republicans even knew what was in the deal.
So, for all the "sound and fury" of the Republican current claims that they are violently against the deal, one may, to quote Shakespeare, cynically observe, they do “protest too much," and too late.