Iran nuclear deal foes in United States Congress may be its unlikely saviors

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump addresses Joint Session of Congress - Washington, U.S. - 28/02/17 - Republicans applaud as U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the U.S. Congress. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Vastavam web: Republicans in the U.S. Congress, long the staunchest opponents of the Iran nuclear deal, may be the best hope for preserving it if President Donald Trump declines on Friday to certify that Tehran is complying with the pact.However, with the agreement in place and strongly supported by co-signers Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, many Republicans who still abhor the pact nevertheless do not want to blow it up for fear that doing so would erode U.S. credibility. They want to find other ways to clamp down on Tehran.“As flawed as the deal is, I believe we must enforce the hell out of it,” Representative Ed Royce, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said on Wednesday.
On Friday, Trump is expected to unveil a broad strategy for Iran, including announcing that he will decertify the agreement ahead of an Oct. 15 deadline, although he could always change his mind.Daniel Kurtzer, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel who is now a professor at Princeton University, said the political pressure could be intense. “There will be an onslaught of phone calls and letters and visits to senators to ‘do something’ about Iran,” he said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has urged Washington to either fix the Iran deal or “nix it.”Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, a key player in the Iran debate, has suggested changing the Iran Review Act he co-authored to eliminate the requirement that Trump recertify Iran’s compliance with the deal every 90 days, several congressional sources said.Trump, who pledged during his campaign to rip up the Iran deal, has recertified it twice since taking office in January and hates having to do so.“Congress and the administration need to be on the same page, and a major breakdown in the working relationship between one of the very few key Republicans on the Hill who works with Democrats and the president on Iran policy bodes very poorly,” said Elizabeth Rosenberg, a former Treasury Department official now at the Center for a New American Security.