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Obama’s lawless Iran nuke deal victory

Obama’s lawless Iran nuke deal victory

Rogue: Who can stop him from disregarding Corker legislation’s terms?

Two recent news analysis pieces highlight President Obama’s lawlessness in the case of his proposed nuclear deal with Iran.

Recall that about one week after the administration’s announcement that it had reached an agreement with Iran, Congressman Mike Pompeo revealed that the IAEA had told him and Senator Tom Cotton that:

Two side deals made between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the IAEA as part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will remain secret and will not be shared with other nations, with Congress, or with the public. One agreement covers the inspection of the Parchin military complex, and the second details how the IAEA and Iran will resolve outstanding issues on possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program.

A draft that was said to the same as the final text of one of these side deals was leaked to, and published by, the Associated Press. The second of the two still remains secret.

Asking Congress to approve an agreement, the complete terms of which it has not even seen, is of course absurd on its face. Even more absurd is that a sufficient number of Senators to sustain a Presidential veto of Congressional disapproval have agreed to do so.

Setting aside the ridiculousness of the request, however, it is also against the law. The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (also known by its sponsor as the Corker legislation) requires President Obama to transmit the entire agreement, specifically including “all related materials and annexes,” to Congress prior to Congressional review of the deal.

Notably, the President agreed to these terms.

Yet, Congress has not received the final texts of either of the two documents that Representative Pompeo and Senator Cotton discovered. Therefore, National Review contributing editor Andrew C. McCarthy has written, “the review process under the Corker law never began — by the law’s own terms.”

Congressman Pompeo partially agreed with McCarthy’s assessment in an op-ed in the Washington Post on Sunday.

The [Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015] defines “agreement,” with exceptional precision, to include not only the agreement between Iran and six Western powers but also “any additional materials related thereto, including . . . side agreements, implementing materials, documents, and guidance, technical or other understandings, and any related agreements, whether entered into or implemented prior to the agreement or to be entered into or implemented in the future.” But the president has not given Congress a key side agreement between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). . . .

Because the president failed to submit the agreement in full, as the law requires, the 60-day clock has not started. . . .

McCarthy and Pompeo, however, differ on the consequences of this failure. Pompeo asserts that, because the review period has not started, “the president remains unable lawfully to waive or lift statutory Iran-related sanctions.”

McCarthy, however, writes that,

[B]ecause Congress never anticipated an Iran-friendly president like Obama, it provided presidents with authority to waive the existing sanctions — although not to lift them permanently. For now, this authority is Obama’s and he is entitled to use it, however reckless this may be.

For those of us who view this deal as a disaster, McCarthy’s conclusion is not a very satisfying one. Construing the statute as he does actually leaves the President with, in a way, more power (the power to temporarily waive sanctions without any Congressional vote at all) through non-compliance.

McCarthy opines that a Congressional refusal to vote on the deal due to the President’s non-compliance would further delegitimize the deal, making it easier for the next administration to repudiate it. Maybe this is so.

Nevertheless, Congress must insist on full disclosure of all of the deal’s written provisions, as the law requires. It should resort to the federal courts to do this if necessary (though there is a separate question of whether the agency in possession of the documents, the IAEA, would be subject to the jurisdiction of the US courts).

Congress and the public have a right to know what is being agreed to, and not to be subjected to more Gruber-like disclosures two years or so from now.


Mirabelle is a non-practicing lawyer and blogger, writing about Israel, the US-Israel relationship, and media bias at On twitter: @MirabelleW18 


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Catcher in the Wry | September 8, 2015 at 8:02 pm

Once again we see Obama simply ignoring the law because he can. I wish congress were less gutless in confronting the president but as Marianne Faithful once sang you might as well wish for apples to grow from an ivy tree.

    “I wish congress were less gutless in confronting the president …”

    Me too, especially since the courts have proven to be mostly gutless as well.

      MattMusson in reply to JPL17. | September 9, 2015 at 8:35 am

      Obama is not going anywhere. Look for him to run for head of the United Nations. From there he will really p#ss on the USA and Israel.

      If that does not work out – either he or Michelle will run in 2020.

Obama’s washed up. He’ll be like Jimmy Carter, NOT invited to million dollar speaking tours.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu is a very patient man. All he has to do is wait. While Obama can’t get any foreign nation to give him a royal visit. Speaking of which, the English Queen is turning out to be the longest reigning monarch … And, I don’t see Obama being offered any opportunity to visit.

What happens in 2016? Well, right now Donald Trump is sucking the oxygen out of everyone else’s turn in the spotlight. Heck, at Drudge, today, there was even an article that The Orange Drank, Boehner, doesn’t look like he’ll get to continue sitting in the Speaker’s Office.

Why is it that behind the curtains there are politicians having suicidal thoughts; and, we don’t get to see anything going on. Bet’cha there’s lots of antics. (And, fear!)

Only 21% of Americans support this agreement, Republicans control both houses of Congress, yet the incompetent feckless stooges running the Republican Party can’t figure out how to stop Obama from selling out the country to Iran.

You would think they’d be on the news 24/7 screaming about this, leading the country in revolt, demanding answers and accountability. Nope. They raised more of a ruckus pushing for Obamatrade.

    Milhouse in reply to DaMav. | September 8, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    There is no way to stop him. Corker-Menendez was the only possible way, and it appears so far to have failed. As McCarthy says, the basic problem is that Congress never contemplated a pro-Iran president. It expected that president and congress would always be on the same side, and any differences between them would be ones of judgment, so it rightly decided that in such cases the president should prevail. If it had anticipated that one day the president would be on the other side, it would not have given him such powers.

      “As McCarthy says, the basic problem is that Congress never contemplated a pro-Iran president.”

      Hard to understand the WH resident when you have your head stuck up his a*s.

      Not only have I been saying for years that the current WH resident was anti-American, I have been saying he was on the side of the Iranians. That is clear to anyone paying attention.

      Anyway, I think this is wrong. I think they knew exactly what they were doing when they passed this legislation. I don’t think the R leadership gives a rats ass about this country either.

        Milhouse in reply to Barry. | September 10, 2015 at 6:42 pm

        What are you talking about now? How could they possibly have anticipated 0bama’s election when they passed this legislation? Do you think they were psychic?!

      ConradCA in reply to Milhouse. | September 9, 2015 at 1:48 pm

      It would be easy for McConnell to stop this disaster. All he has to do is assert that this “agreement” is a treaty required the consent of the Senate and hold the vote on ratification. This treaty would be null and void.

        Milhouse in reply to ConradCA. | September 10, 2015 at 6:53 pm

        That is a ridiculous lie, and you know it.

        All he has to do is assert that this “agreement” is a treaty required the consent of the Senate and hold the vote on ratification. This treaty would be null and void.

        You seem to think the words “treaty” and “null and void” are some kind of magic. Get this through your head: there is no difference between a ratification vote that fails and no ratification vote at all. Either way it has not been ratified, and is therefore not a treaty. If the senate fails to ratify it, it would be exactly as it is now — a private agreement that the president signed and has the power to implement. The only way to stop him is to remove that power, and that takes 2/3 in each house; the Republicans tried for that and failed. There is no other way.

Appealing as these claims are, I don’t think they can work, for one simple reason: the side-agreements are between Iran and the IAEA. 0bama is not a party to them, so he can’t be expected to have their text, let alone provide it to Congress. The Corker-Menendez law can’t be construed as requiring this, because it’s an impossible requirement. Presumably Iran will be making deals with Russia or China, or has already made them; is 0bama supposed to supply those to Congress too?! The law must therefore be construed as relating only to agreements that the USA is party to, and 0bama has complied.

I also think McCarthy is completely wrong in his understanding of Corker-Menendez, especially when he writes that If lawmakers then go ahead with the vote on the Iran deal that the Republican opposition must inevitably lose because of Corker’s “minority wins” process, there would be a very reasonable legal argument that the sanctions have been repealed. No such argument can possibly be made. The sanctions can only be permanently repealed by a majority in each house, not by a minority. Corker-Menendez doesn’t approve or endorse any deal the president makes, it merely acknowledges the undeniable fact that he has the power to make such deals without Congress’s approval. If the resolution of disapproval fails, all it will mean is that Congress was unable to stop the president from doing what is in his power, but it will not allow him to do anything that is not in his power, such as permanently repeal the sanctions. They will remain waived, and the next president will be able to unwaive them. No resolution is needed for this; it’s already the case.

authority to waive the existing sanctions — although not to lift them permanently

This is nonsense. It can’t possibly be a correct interpretation.

    Milhouse in reply to tom swift. | September 8, 2015 at 11:33 pm

    What do you find implausible about it? This is a very common provision. Pretty much all sanctions legislation contains one just like it.

    ConradCA in reply to tom swift. | September 9, 2015 at 12:13 am

    There is another fact to consider. This “agreement” violates the nuclear non-proliferation treaty which is US law. Tyrant Obama the Liar would be in violation if he violates the NPT.

      Sammy Finkelman in reply to ConradCA. | September 9, 2015 at 2:14 pm

      I don’t think this agreements violates the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. The agreement that President Clinton with North Korea did, or more precisely, disregarded it.

      Iran claims it has no interest in a nuclear bomb – that, in fact, there is a fatwa against it. No less an authority than Ali Khamenei himself claimed there was a fatwa.

      Of course, nobody, not even Obama, believes that even if there is a fatwa, it would actually stop anything, so the qustion of whether there really is a hidden or verbal or top secret fatwa, or an interpretation of an earlier fatwa by Khomeini against chemical weapons, is irrelevant. Iran has sometimes disregarded or reversed several fatwas.

      But in the meantime Iran is sticking to its position that nothing they are, or were, doing is for the purposes of building a nuclear bomb, although much of what was done can’t be for any other logical reason.

I would like to know why the Senate doesn’t just assert that this “agreement” with Iran is a treaty requiring their consent. Then all they have to do is hold the vote ASAP and it will be killed by the Senate?

If you read the constitution were it gives the Senate the power of consent to treaties it’s clear that it doesn’t matter what the Tyrant calls his treaties or if he refuses to submit them to the Senate for ratification. If the Senate rejects this treaty it is dead for the USA.

    Milhouse in reply to ConradCA. | September 10, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    Because everything you just wrote is a blatant falsehood. The senate can assert whatever it likes, but its consent to this agreement is not necessary, because the president has the power to implement it under current law.

    Let’s suppose the senate holds a vote to consent that this agreement should have the status of a treaty. There are only two possible outcomes: Either fewer than 2/3 senators vote for it, or 2/3 vote for it.

    In the first case nothing happens. The senate has not consented to it being a treaty, so it isn’t, exactly as is the case now. It remains exactly what it is now, a private agreement that the president made and has the power to keep. Telling him that he can’t make it a treaty is just like telling someone that you won’t marry him, when he has no intention of asking you.

    Of course in the second case, that 2/3 of the senate votes its consent, the president still wouldn’t have to make it a treaty, but he’d jump at the chance, and he would. But that would never happen anyway.

    The bottom line that you can’t seem to get through your head is that there is no difference between not voting on something and voting to defeat it. It doesn’t matter what the vote is, there are only two possible statuses: it either passes or it doesn’t. It doesn’t matter whether something doesn’t pass because it didn’t get enough votes or because it was never proposed.

Obama does’t care one whit about this deal’s permanence. Obama knows that once the sanctions are released and the deal is started, a one way street has been entered for none of this will ever be revoked until the next administration and by that time it will be too late. Does any one realistically think the sanctions will snap back? Does anyone really think that Russia and China will work with us again in the near future since Obama has alienated the US so badly. Nope, Obama only wants this deal to start and then it is all over.
Lastly, claiming Obama to be Iran friendly is like claiming the Grand Canyon is a typical example of soil erosion.

    Sammy Finkelman in reply to Cleetus. | September 9, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    I don’t think Obama is on the side of Iran.

    I think Obama is afraid of Iran – afraid, that is, that Iran will back out of the deal.

    And it will.

Lawless is O’s coin of the realm.

Well, we certainly can’t expect the GOP to do anything about this when all they have are majorities in both houses of congress.

Sammy Finkelman | September 9, 2015 at 1:56 pm

The situation seems to be like this:

Every vote in the Senate now seems to have been announced.

There are now 42 votes to sustain a veto.

Only 41 votes are needed to uphold a filibuster.


Previously, two of the Democratic Senators who said they would side wth Obama also said they would not support a filibuster.

That would leave 60 votes for cloture, just barely enough to pass.

Now Harry Reid is proposing that, yes, there be an official recorded vote on th resolution of disapproval, but that the Senate adopt a rule that 60 votes would be needed for passage!

That way, it wouldn’t go to President Obama for a veto.

It would seem that he and Obama are hoping they can pry away one of the 2 Democrats who are for the deal but also for cloture, and letting this run its course.

When was the Crowning ? I don;t remember “O,” being made JING ? He has been acting like one & his wife has been acting like Queen, Since Elected. Just because you act like a King, Does not make you ONE. The payoffs, Intimidation, Money and arm twisting that has been going on is criminal. I have never imagined that one person could cause so much destruction. This has to be a Giant conspiracy set up over many years by I think World Bankers. Patriotic Americans must stop this lawless Governing Admin. Surely we have someone in office that can step up.