Testifying in front the Senate Wednesday Secretary of State Kerry was given an opportunity to attack the letter sent by 47 GOP Senators to the leadership of Iran. While he attacked the letter as planned, Kerry actually provided rationale for the letter. Admitting that the Senate would get the details of the plan but wouldn’t be allowed to give input/ make changes, and if a deal with Iran was reached, it would be “non-binding.“
But the “nonbinding” modifier has a specific meaning here: As 47 Republican senators pointed out in a controversial open letter to Iran’s leadership, any agreement not put to a Congressional vote is considered an “executive agreement” under the US’s constitutional system.
In an October 2014 blog post, Harvard Law School professor Jack Goldsmith explained the practical impact of the president evading Congress on an Iran deal: An executive deal would lack the legal grounding and prestige of a treaty, and show that the president didn’t find an agreement important enough to warrant congressional affirmation.
“Any deal struck by President Obama with Iran will probably appear to the Iranians to be, at best, short-term and tenuous,” Goldsmith wrote. “And so we can probably expect, at best, only a short-term and tenuous commitment from Iran in return.”
The US wouldn’t have a firm legal obligation to uphold the agreement, so
Iran would have a built-in reason to assume American bad faith and push
the limits of a future deal. In other words, without a legal guarantee
on the US side, compliance with an agreement is potentially diluted
Tehran’s side as well — and remember, this is a regime that hid the
existence of two secret nuclear facilities and operated 20,000 uranium
enrichment centrifuges in defiance of repeated UN Security Council
So besides this deal allowing Iran enough centrifuges to produce fuel for bombs but not enough for peaceful purposes, and coming with a ten year expiration date, our designated representatives in the congress will not have a say in its development and the Iranians can back out when ever…like right after Obama leaves office.
The sick thing is one we start removing the sanctions, the sanctions process will have to start all over again, but by that time it will be too late and Iran will have the bomb.
The Senators’ letter was justified before Kerry’s testimony today, Kerry’s words made it even more justified.