White House's Iran Deal Could Cut Congress Out Of The Loop

A New York Times report suggests the White House is considering bypassing Congress on a final nuclear deal with Iran.
Posted at 4:45 PM, Oct 20, 2014

In April, Secretary of State John Kerry assured lawmakers they'd get a say on any future nuclear deal with Iran.

KERRY VIA C-SPAN: "Clearly what we do will have to pass muster with Congress.”

A new report published in The New York Times suggests pretty much the opposite.

The paper says the Obama administration is considering circumventing lawmakers when it comes to lifting sanctions on Iran, rather than risk hearing "no" from them — and the Treasury Department reportedly sees legal justification for this.  

The report comes almost a year after the U.S. and five other world powers reached an interim agreement with Iran. The deal required Iran to scale back its uranium-enrichment program in exchange for the return of some of its frozen assets. 

Those negotiators now face a Nov. 24 deadline to work out a final, more comprehensive deal with Iran.

Iran's official position is that all sanctions must be permanently lifted, but statements like this from Iranian officials suggest they'd be open to a temporary suspension of sanctions. 

JAVAD ZARIF, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER VIA PBS"We understand the constraints President Obama is facing. As we don't accept them asking us to do the impossible, we will not ask them to do the impossible."  

But Obama's critics argue Iran got the better end of the deal last November, and there's little chance Republicans — and even some Democrats — will go for any deal that involves lifting sanctions.

SEN. BOB CORKER, R-TENN.: "Have a congressional review. It allows Congress to weigh in on any final deal the president reaches with Iran."

In July, more than 300 House members sent this letter to President Obama urging "greater consultation with Congress" on any potential sanctions package.

The White House dismissed The New York Times report, with one official telling Fox News it was both "preposterous" and "incorrect."

This video includes images from the U.S. Department of State.