As outlined in the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, the U.S. Congress had a 60-day review period to approve the 14 July Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action regulating Iran’s nuclear program(see Doc. A1), with the Obama administration staging a sustained offensive to win support for the deal in various fora. As the U.S. representative to the P5+1 negotiating group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany), Secy. of State John Kerry testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on 23 July and the House Foreign Affairs Committee on 28 July in defense of the agreement. Energy Secy. Ernest Moniz and Treasury Secy. Jacob Lew testified alongside Kerry to discuss the deal’s scientific aspects and economic implications, respectively.
At these public hearings, the three administration officials faced arduous questions on sanctions relief and inspections. Additionally, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) took the opportunity to question Kerry about the implications of a provision in the agreement that would safeguard Iran’s nuclear facilities against sabotage, as Rubio voiced the fear that the P5+1 would assist Iran in the case of an Israeli attack. In response, Kerry reassured committee members that “we plan to be fully coordinated with Israel.”
Presented below are excerpts from the opening testimonies of Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), reflecting the arguments of the deal’s opponents in Washington. The excerpts were made public by the United States Institute of Peace on The Iran Primer blog at iranprimer.usip.org/blog.