Legislation to make it harder for the Biden administration to re-enter the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal, was introduced in both houses by Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) and Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).
The Iran Nuclear Deal Advise and Consent Act of 2021 (H.R. 1479) was introduced on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives by Barr on March 2 and would cut off funding for the administration’s efforts to rejoin the JCPOA unless and until the administration submits an agreement to Congress for approval as a formal treaty. A treaty requires congressional approval under Article I of the U.S. Constitution.
“Recently, Iran announced their intentions to increase their uranium enrichment, accelerating their path towards a nuclear weapon. By even considering rejoining the JCPOA at this point, the Biden administration is threatening to undermine the American-Israeli alliance and further exacerbate the conflict over Iran’s nuclear weapons pursuit,” Barr said in a news release on Wednesday. “Barr-Blackburn ensures Congress will serve as a check on the Biden administration’s urge to rejoin the failed JCPOA and reclaims congressional oversight over the international treaty process … .”
Blackburn introduced a companion bill in the Senate on Monday with co-sponsors Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Mike Rounds (R-S.C.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.).
Earlier this month, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi announced that the country will increase its uranium enrichment to 60 percent, in violation of the JCPOA, after a blast hit the country’s Natanz nuclear facility.
The Washington Post reported on Monday that efforts to return the United States and Iran back into compliance with the JCPOA are moving forward in meetings being held in Vienna, coordinated by a Joint Commission which includes Britain, France, Germany Russia, China and Iran—all signatories to the original agreement—with the United States participating indirectly.
The Biden administration indicated earlier this year its interest in re-entering the deal after the Trump administration withdrew from it in May 2018, reimposing sanctions on Iran and adding new ones.
In a further attempt to stall the administration’s progress, congressional Republicans on Wednesday presented the largest package of sanctions on Iran in history in an effort to indicate to the Biden administration the GOP’s opposition to the deal, according to The Washington Free Beacon.