A bipartisan majority of senators oppose nuclear-only Iran deal
A majority of senators – 62, including 16 Democrats – oppose the nuclear-only Iran deal. On Wednesday, senators voted 62-33 in favour of a non-binding measure that opposes going into a deal with Iran with only the country's nuclear programme and removing the terrorist designation from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The vote, which was held Wednesday night and reported by Jewish Insider, followed a motion introduced by Oklahoma Republican Senator James Lankford, part of the body’s consideration of the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), with the goal of competing with China’s manufacturing sector.
The measure aims to ensure that any future deal with Iran includes stipulations about its other activities of concern, such as missiles, terrorism and sanctions evasion; and that it would not lift sanctions on the IRCG or rescind its terrorist designation, a designation that appears to have more symbolic than practical importance for both sides given the IRCG’s longtime ban of economic transactions by the US.
This would be in contrast to the original 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, or the Iran nuclear deal) signed under former President Barack Obama, former President Donald Trump withdrew from in 2018.
The news of this measure comes after months of indirect negotiations between the US and Iran over finding a mutually agreeable deal.
Many in the US who favour renegotiating a nuclear deal with Iran believe this is the best way to monitor Iran and prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. Those who oppose the deal believe it gives Iran too much power and not enough restrictions.
Politico’s coverage of the news Thursday described this measure as a “test vote” and suggested it didn’t bode well for the administration in trying to revive the deal. Still, it noted that some Democrats who voted for it said they were not against the deal, but were only voicing their concerns about the shape of an eventual deal.
“We want a longer and stronger deal,” Politico reported New Jersey Democratic Senator Cory Booker as saying about why he supported the measure. “[I want] the best deal possible that secures the region and prevents Iran from having a nuclear weapon.”
Regardless of this latest development, if the US does renegotiate the deal with Iran, there will likely be many difficulties along the way.