Friday, September 18, 2015

Republicans Again Fail to Block Iran Nuclear Deal

Republicans Again Fail to Block Iran Nuclear Deal

by Stephen Lendman

Congress had until September 17 to accept or reject the Iran Nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action - JCPOA). Three Republican efforts to block it fell short.

On September 10, Senate Republicans failed to get the 60-vote supermajority needed to invoke cloture - the process to end debate and bring a measure to a vote.

House Republicans declined to consider a disapproval motion, seeking other ways to undermine a done deal.

On September 15, a second Republican Senate attempt to pass a disapproval resolution failed to get enough votes to invoke cloture. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R. KY) said another would follow before the September 17 deadline.

Minority Leader Harry Reid (D. NV) accused him of being in no “hurry to avoid a shutdown” if agreement on a FY 2016 budget isn’t reached by September 30. “Instead, the Senate will waste precious time on another failed (JCPOA) vote.”

It came before the midnight September 17 deadline - again failing to advance a disapproval resolution, falling four votes short of the required 60.

House members voted only on three symbolic anti-Iranian measures having no effect on the nuclear deal. Only four Senate Democrats voted with Republicans - Ben Cardin (MD), Joe Manchin (W VA), Robert Menendez (NJ), and Charles Schumer (NY).

Republicans upped the stakes in the final vote - adding an amendment barring Obama from ending nuclear-related sanctions unless Iran releases four US prisoners held on espionage charges and officially recognizes Israel.

On Thursday, John Kerry named career foreign service officer Stephen Mull as JCPOA coordinator, overseeing its implementation. He’ll head an interagency team - including Departments of State, Treasury, Defense, Energy, Homeland Security, Commerce and Justice.

On October 18 (90 days after Security Council approval), Obama will begin the slow process of ending nuclear related sanctions, not initiated until so-called “Implementation Day” - when the IAEA certifies Iranian compliance with JCPOA provisions, steps to continue well into 2016.

An administration official said the endpoint is unknown. It’s unclear what’s next at this point. America’s sordid history of breaching deals bodes ill for any easing of longstanding US anti-Iranian hostility.

New reasons may be invented to impose more sanctions, even if current nuclear ones are removed. A Republican president following Obama might try reversing everything positive achieved - by executive order if unable to pass congressional legislation.

Pressure from Israel and AIPAC will continue relentlessly. Chances for Washington turning a new page on Iran are slim to none.

Regime change remains official US policy. All independent governments are targeted for removal - by color revolution or war, notably Russia, China, Venezuela and Iran, key to advancing Washington’s hegemonic agenda and controlling world resources (especially oil), a project risking WW III. 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

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