Obama, Congress sign deal over Iran nuclear talks

U.S. President Barack Obama has reluctantly agreed to allowing Congress to have a say on a nuclear deal with Iran

Published: Updated:

U.S. President Barack Obama has reluctantly agreed to allowing Congress to have a say on a nuclear deal with Iran, following pressure from Republicans and some in his own party after they crafted a rare compromise demanding a say.

The deal reached on Tuesday places a new element of uncertainty, just days after an initial deal was reached between the P5+1 nations and Iran.

An outline agreement on the future of Iran’s nuclear program was reached on April 2.

Since then the White House had stepped up its efforts to persuade Democratic senators not to support the bipartisan bill that would give Congress a say on a final deal.

Israel is pleased with the deal achieved between the United States Congress and the administration of President Barack Obama, Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry joined his counterparts from the Group of Seven industrial powers at a meeting in northern Germany on the gathering’s second day, flying in overnight after discussing Iran with lawmakers in Washington.

“Yesterday there was a compromise reached in Washington regarding congressional input,” Kerry told reporters in the Baltic Sea port of Luebeck. “We are confident about our ability for the president to negotiate an agreement, and to do so with the ability to make the world safer.”

But Washington, as well as negotiators from Iran and other members of the six-power group, have expressed concern that Congress could fatally undermine a deal before a June 30 deadline for a final pact.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Senator Bob Corker, who wrote the bill, said the White House agreed to the bill only after it became apparent there was strong Democratic support.

The bill that was passed cut from 60 to 30 days the time in which Congress can review any final nuclear agreement and eliminated the requirement that Obama certify that Iran is not supporting acts of terrorism against the United States.

The new bill requires the White House send Congress regular, detailed reports on issues including Iran’s support for terrorism, ballistic missiles and nuclear program.

The Obama administration is also required to send the text of a final agreement to Congress as soon as it is completed, and blocks Obama’s ability to waive many U.S. sanctions on Iran while Congress reviews the deal.

A deal with Iran is seen as an important legacy for the Obama administration.

While Obama can lift sanctions he imposed, he would still need the backing of Congress to lift those imposed by U.S. lawmakers.

(With Reutersand the Associated Press)