United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, announced that implementation of the nuclear deal with Iran, agreed upon in July, was imminent.
“We are days away from implementation if all goes well,” Kerry said at a press conference on Thursday.
Implementation would compel the US and the other P5+1 nations to suspend tens of billions of dollars of sanctions against Iran
Kerry’s announcement comes after an earlier conversation he had with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who told him that Iran intended to meet their requirements under the agreement as soon as possible.
The announcement also came just a few hours after the House foreign affairs committee advanced a bill intended to give Congress greater oversight over the future of the deal with Iran. The new legislation, if passed, would prevent the US from lifting sanctions on specific Iranian individuals and companies unless President Barack Obama is able to certify their non-involvement in ballistic missiles or terrorist activities.
In addition, a letter signed by seven Democratic lawmakers was sent to President Obama demanding that he impose sanctions on Iran following several ballistic missile tests which violated international agreements. It called for reinstituting sanctions if Iran did not adhere to international law. The letter also criticized, “Iran’s destabilizing behavior in the region and continued support for terrorism”.
The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Rep. Joe Kennedy (D – Mass.) and Rep. Ted Deutch (D – Fla.) introduced a bipartisan bill to quicken the process for imposing sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile program, human rights violations, and support of terrorism. They described Democrats “frustrated” and “losing patience” with the inaction of the Obama administration over two recent Iranian ballistic missile tests that were ruled to be in violation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1929.
In November, a UN panel ruled that the missile test were in violation and Obama administration announced they would impose sanctions on individuals and companies involved in the missile programs. These sanctions were put on hold after the Iranian government protested to the White House.
Iran still holds several US citizens in detention, an issue which has yet to be addressed in negotiations. There have been no official diplomatic relations between Iran and the US since the US backed Shah was deposed in 1979 and the Ayatollah Khomeini came into power. As a result, more than 60 American diplomats and citizens were held hostage for 444 days. In 2011, the British embassy in Iran was attacked and only recently reestablished. Last week, the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran was stormed by mobs in reaction to a Shiite cleric being executed by the Saudi Arabian government, leading to the two nations severing diplomatic ties.