They are at it again.
And I’ve got to admit this new strategy to torpedo diplomacy with Iran is ingenious.
Iran hawks’ latest plan is to pass a bill – while diplomacy is still in process – that would give a Congress a veto over international diplomacy with Iran.
Peace Action West is hearing that co-authors Senators Lindsay Graham and Bob Corker are shopping the bill around and it could be introduced any day. We need to keep swing Senators from supporting the bill by letting them know why it’s a horrible idea.
The word out of negotiations is that we may be on the verge of a historic nuclear agreement. But some in Congress have an ingenious way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Supporters frame the bil as “just a way for Congress to exert normal oversight”.
It’s hard for Congressmembers to say no to oversight. But given the partisanship in Congress no one can predict the deal could survive a hyper-politicized vote. This sets up a Congressional veto of the administration’s traditional prerogative to conduct diplomacy.
But it’s also a veto of a major international relations priority that most countries of the world, including our allies, strongly support. To paraphrase one administration official talking about an earlier effort to torpedo diplomacy: “we will go from isolating Iran to isolating ourselves”.
It’s unilateralism on steroids.
Here’s the message we need to send to Congress on this “veto-Iran-Diplomacy” bill:
If Congress vetoes diplomacy after the US, UK, EU, France, Germany, Russia and China have all crafted an agreement with Iran it will destroy international unity on pressuring Iran and Iran will retaliate by ramping up its nuclear programs.
If Congress vetoes diplomacy that makes “Plan B” likely after negotiations collapse. The only Plan B anti-diplomacy forces have on offer is military attacks.
This veto-diplomacy bill makes our negotiators’ job harder. The Iranians are far less likely to make difficult and controversial concessions if they think Congress can just veto the deal.
[i] Let’s All, For a Moment, Remember Bibi’s Wisdom on Iraq 10 Years Ago , 9/18/2012 Lobeblog.com
[ii] Don’t disrespect our president, black lawmakers tell Netanyahu, Politico, 2/10/15
[iii] Netanyahu Address to Congress, Haaretz, 2/15/15