Iran Instructs U.S. to Bypass Congress on Deal, Go to U.N. Iranian foreign minister says U.N. should approve nuclear agreement
The Iranian government is urging the United States to go straight to the United Nations to finalize any agreement reached in the coming weeks regarding Tehran’s contested nuclear program without seeking congressional approval.
Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister and top negotiator, suggested in a recent interview that the U.N. Security Council should be responsible for approving any agreement reached between Western powers and Tehran over its nuclear program, a proposal that the Obama administration entertained on Thursday.
The State Department argues that a nonbinding agreement with Iran—one that would not be subject to congressional oversight or approval—could be more enforceable due to the removal of opposition by a majority of Republican lawmakers to a deal.
Iran’s backing of a U.N.-approved deal came just days before State Department officials expressed reserved openness to the idea and revealed that they are currently working on a plan with other Security Council members to ease sanctions on Tehran.
Zarif first raised the idea of subjecting a deal to U.N. approval in a recent interview with an Iranian magazine conducted in Persian. Once the countries strike an agreement, it should be “approved and confirmed” by the Security Council under Chapter 7 of the U.N.’s charter, according to Zarif.
A “resolution under chapter 7 of the U.N. charter is an international and binding treaty for all the member states,” Zarif said, according to an independent translation of his remarks in the interview. Under these terms, “any deal is binding for the current U.S. government and for the future U.S. governments,” Zarif said.
These comments are particularly noteworthy given the Obama administration’s insistence in recent days that it is pursuing a “nonbinding” deal, which means that Congress would be cut out of the approval process and that neither country would be legally responsible for upholding the arrangement.
Zarif went on to claim that he and the United States are working on a deal that would lift all U.N. Security Council resolutions against Iran’s nuclear program. When asked about sanctions related to Iran’s missile programs, Zarif claimed that these would be lifted as well under any final deal.
When asked about the prospect of going to the U.N. with any final nuclear deal, Jen Psaki, the State Department’s spokeswoman, said this that idea is being floated in talks with Iran. Psaki went on to hint that the he United States is seeking a nonbinding deal in order to keep Congress out of the debate in the near term.
“Obviously, if we’re at the point where there’s an agreement and there are sanctions that are rolled back, then that’s a role that they would play,” she said.”
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