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Senators Introduce Iran Congressional Oversight Act

Bill Requires Regular Reporting by the Administration on Iran’s Compliance with Any Nuclear Deal and Ensures Congress Can Expeditiously Respond to Any Violation

Washington— Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today joined with colleagues to introduce the Iran Congressional Oversight Act of 2015, legislation that would ensure that Congress has a central role in overseeing any nuclear deal with Iran. The bill would require the Administration to regularly report to Congress on Iranian compliance with any deal, and sets up an expedited process for Congress to reinstate sanctions and impose other penalties if Iran violates the terms of the deal.

In addition to Senator Feinstein, sponsors of the bill include Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Barbara Boxer(D-Calif), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Al Franken (D-Minn.).

“The Iran Congressional Oversight Act ensures appropriate oversight of any nuclear agreement with Iran and sends a signal that we stand ready to swiftly re-impose sanctions if Iran violates an agreement,” Senator Feinstein said. “I urge my colleagues to support this bill as it does not undermine ongoing diplomacy.”

Senator Boxer said, “I am proud of this bill because it will ensure that if there is a nuclear deal and if Iran violates it, there will be immediate action by Congress to reinstate sanctions and consider even tougher penalties against Iran.”

“Congress has given the Administration the space it needs to negotiate a deal to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. But if a deal is struck, Congress will exercise its oversight role to ensure Iranian compliance,” said Senator Schatz. “This bill would put in place an expedited process to consider legislation to reinstate sanctions and prohibit transfers of assets to Iran if it violates its agreement with the P5+1. Our guiding principle will continue to be distrust but verify.”

“I wholeheartedly support the Obama administration’s efforts to negotiate a deal that keeps Iran from developing a nuclear weapon,” said Senator Carper. “This bill would ensure that once a deal has been struck, Congress and the administration will be able to hold Iran to its commitments.”

Specifically, the Iran Congressional Oversight Act:

  • Requires the President to report to Congress at least once every 90 days on Iranian compliance with the Joint Plan of Action or any successor deal, and that the report be accompanied by an unclassified certification by the President, in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence, of whether Iran has complied with or violated such deal;
  • Sets up an expedited process for Congress to vote on legislation to reinstate waived or suspended sanctions and prohibit transfers of assets to Iran if the President certifies to Congress that Iran has violated a deal. The expedited process would not be subject to a filibuster;
  • Sets up a process to expedite consideration of legislation that is determined to be necessary by the Majority Leader, after consultation with the Minority Leader, to further respond to a violation by Iran of a nuclear deal during the 30-day period after which the President certifies to Congress that Iran has violated a deal. Under this process, a motion to proceed to consider additional action against Iran would not be debatable.
  • Reaffirms the constitutional role of Congress in repealing congressionally mandated sanctions if, in the context of a final deal, the U.S. commits to lifting such sanctions.