Iran's Rouhani dismisses US Congress pressure over nuclear deal

Iran's Rouhani dismisses US Congress pressure over nuclear deal
Hassan Rouhani downplayed Wednesday the threat of US congressional action against an eventual nuclear deal, saying Tehran is not negotiating with the lawmakers but with world powers.
3 min read
15 April, 2015
Obama has to overcome domestic pressure while Iran complies with preliminary agreement (Getty)

US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday he was confident President Obama would be able to get Congress to approve a nuclear deal with Iran after the Adminstration acknowledged Congress would have the power to review an accord with Tehran. 

"Looming large is the challenge of finishing the negotiation with Iran over the course of the next two and a half months," Kerry said after arriving in Germany for a Group of Seven foreign ministers' meeting in the northern city of Luebeck. 

His remarks came after the US congress officially muscled its way Tuesday into the nuclear talks with Iran, adding to the uncertainties surrounding the negotiations.

On Tuesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, comprising Republicans and Democrats, unanimously voted to give Congress a say on any deal with Iran.  

Congress would have 30 days to review and vote to accept or reject the deal. The President would have 12 days to veto the Congress's decision.

However, White House spokesman Josh Earnest conveyed the president's decision to remove his veto threat. 

To override a veto, opponents would have to muster a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate. This is only plausible if some Democrats oppose their president and reject the deal.

This compromise allows Obama to avoid possible legislative disapproval of the deal which would lead to potentially destructive showdown between the White House and the Congress.

Iranian reaction

In a speech after Iran bill passed in the Senate Committee, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani dismissed pressure from the US Congress over a preliminary deal, saying that Tehran is dealing with world powers - not American lawmakers. 

Rouhani stressed that "whatever the Senate, the Congress, and hardliners want, it is not our business". The Iranian President reduced the bill that empowers the Congress to a "domestic US matter".

In doing so, Rouhani adds pressure on Obama to overcome domestic pressure without complicating the process of drafting a comprehensive deal.

Nuclear inspectors back in Tehran

In the meantime, Iran reaffirmed its seriousness in complying with nuclear agreement by allowing U.N. nuclear inspectors into Iran again.

The inspectors are expected to investigate suspicions that Tehran worked on nuclear weapons, a charge the Islamic Republic denies.

Iranian nuclear spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi is quoted by the official IRNA news agency saying that inspectors from the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency arrived in Tehran on Wednesday to discuss "unresolved issues" surrounding a military site in Marivan, in western Iran.

A 2011 IAEA report indicated that large-scale high-explosive experiments were conducted in Marivan, near the Iraqi border.

The news of inspectors in Tehran to fill the technical gaps in nuclear framework comes as the final text of the nuclear deal is supposed to be drafted in two and a half months