US Senate passes Iran nuclear deal review bill

US Senate passes bill to give Congress power to review possible Iran nuclear agreement

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The US Senate passes a bill on Thursday to give Congress the right to review, approve or reject, an international nuclear agreement with Iran.

The measure passed with an overwhelming 98-1 majority as only Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), who pioneered a letter to Iranian leaders warning against an agreement, voted against it.

The White House has said President Barack Obama would sign it into law if it also passes the House of Representatives, which is expected to consider the bill as soon as next week.

Passage in the Senate came after months of intense discussion of how Congress could best have a voice in the ongoing negotiations between the United States and five other world powers, namely China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Germany, with Iran over its nuclear programme.

After the bill passed through Senate Foreign Relations Committee with a sweeping 19-0 vote following a compromise agreement between Senate Republicans, Democrats and the White House, several Republican senators proposed 67 amendments during the two weeks of debate.

Most of the amendments were aimed to toughen the measure and were considered “poison bills” but all were rejected.

The bill would give the Senate the authority to review, approve or reject a possible nuclear agreement between Iran and the US after signed by the president.

The bill provides a 30-day period to the US Congress after the signing of the agreement to review it and decide whether to lift congressional sanctions for the deal to go into effect.

For a rejection of the agreement 60 votes will be required, and in case of a veto 66 senators should vote to override it to nullify a nuclear agreement signed by Obama.

Iran and the six world powers are trying to reach a nuclear agreement before June 30.

TRTWorld and agencies