Democrats in the Senate on Thursday foiled a Republican bill of disapproval to the Iran nuclear deal sparing US President Barack Obama from needing to use his veto. However, the same day a resolution calling to restart the 60-day Congressional review period of the deal passed in the House.
House Resolution 411, presented by Congressmen Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY), states that Obama has not complied with the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 given that the classified side deals between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were never submitted for Congressional review.
The resolution passed on Thursday in the House by 245-186, with a clean divide between Republican support and Democrat opposition. It remains to be seen if it will have any impact, given that the defeat of the bill of opposition to the deal on Thursday indicates a lack of backing in the Senate.
House Resolution 411 notes there are two secret side deals between the IAEA and Iran, one on "Possible Military Dimensions" of Iran's nuclear program, and another on the covert Parchin military base where Iran has reportedly conducted nuclear detonator testing.
Given that the deals were not disclosed to Congress for review, the resolution calls to find Obama non-compliant with the nuclear deal review act, and significantly states that the period of Congressional review of the deal "has not commenced because the agreement has not yet been transmitted to the appropriate congressional committees and leadership."
"Absurd lack of disclosure"
Responding to the passage of the resolution on Thursday, Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL) said, "President Obama broke the very law he signed by failing to provide Congress with the Iran-IAEA side agreements. Withholding these documents from the American people and their elected representatives completely discredits the transparent review process the Administration was legally obligated to provide."
"In light of this vote, I believe the House should pursue legal action against the Administration for its blatant disregard for the law," added Roskam, while condemning the side deals that allow Iran to inspect its own covert nuclear sites.
Roskam also gave a compelling call of support for the resolution on the House floor during the voting process on Thursday.
The Congressman noted that for the past two years, Obama claimed a deal with Iran would be based on full disclosure, but after "all the information" was submitted, Congress discovered that "there are two secret side deals that we've not seen."
"How can it be that some elements of the administration have been briefed on those documents, but they've not been disclosed to Congress, and they've not been disclosed to the American public? How can that be? I'll tell you how it can be – because this is absurd."
According to Roskam, the new bill is meant to say to the Obama administration: "you have not complied, therefore…the House is not going to vote on this nefarious deal."