Iran deal needs strengthening
Ray Takeyh argues that the Iran nuclear deal can safely be revised as many other international agreements have been done before and that doing so is in the best interest of proponents of the deal as it "is hard to see how an accord can endure for over a decade when a majority of the American people and their representatives disapprove of it."
It is neither unwarranted nor unprecedented for Congress to reject international accords or demand significant revisions to them. Congress in its history has rejected 130 agreements transacted by the Executive branch and has demanded that 200 other accords be modified before gaining approval. The Obama administration itself renegotiated a nuclear agreement after congressional objections. In 2009, the United States and United Arab Emirates (UAE) concluded a nuclear accord. Many in Congress raised concerns that the agreement was not sufficiently rigorous, causing the Obama White House to renegotiate the accord in May 2009 with the stipulation that UAE would forgo a domestic enrichment capability.
Given that the JCPOA is a political agreement whose obligations are voluntarily undertaken, it seems a suitable candidate for similar congressional treatment.
Paradoxically, the supporters of the agreement should welcome congressional disapproval. As it stands, the agreement is rejected by most Republican lawmakers and the president has had to resort to arm-twisting and threats to ensure Democratic support. It may come to pass that Obama can sustain his agreement through a parliamentary manipulation called a presidential veto. However, it should concern the White House and its supporters that its controversial agreement rests on no real domestic consensus. It is hard to see how an accord can endure for over a decade when a majority of the American people and their representatives disapprove of it.