US President Barack Obama will veto any bills passed by the US Senate that allows lawmakers to weigh in on any deal signed between the P5+1 and Iran, the White House announced on Saturday.
“The president has been clear that now is not the time for Congress to pass additional legislation on Iran. If this bill is sent to the president, he will veto it,” said Bernadette Meehan, a spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council.
The US and five other world powers – Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany – are in the midst of negotiating a framework agreement with the Islamic Republic regarding its nuclear program in exchange for lifting tough economic sanctions.
US lawmakers are in the process of reviewing the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act which would require Obama to submit to Congress the text of any agreement with Iran within five days of concluding a deal.
The bill would also prevent the Obama administration from lifting any congressional sanctions on Iran for at least 60 days. During this time, Congress would hold hearings and have a change to approve, disapprove or take no action on the Iranian agreement.
According to Meehan, the bipartisan bill sponsored by Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) will only serve to undermine efforts to curb Iran’s nuclear program.
She said that the US “should give our negotiators the best chances of success rather than complicating their efforts.”
In response to Obama’s decision to veto the bill, Senator Corker responded that it was “disappointing that the president feels he is the only one who speaks for the citizens of our country.”
Obama’s announcement comes during a critical moment of negotiations between Iran and Western powers.
On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to address a joint session of Congress in what has become a controversial speech on the dangers of a nuclear Iran.
The prime minister said on Saturday prior to this departure to the US that, “As Prime Minister of Israel, it is my obligation to see to the security of Israel; therefore, we strongly oppose the agreement being formulated with Iran and the major powers, which could endanger our very existence.”