Chairmen Royce, McCaul to President on Iran Deal: UN Security Council Should Wait Until Congressional Review is Complete

Jul 16, 2015

Washington, D.C. – Today U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, sent a letter to President Barack Obama regarding the recently announced Iran nuclear agreement.

In the letter, the two Chairmen urge the President to delay any United Nations Security Council action on Iran, including a significant weakening of the UN arms embargo on ballistic missiles and conventional weapons, until after Congress has had time to fully review the agreement and take any action as part of the 60-day review period allowed by the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, which the President signed into law this year.

In the letter, Royce and McCaul wrote:  “It is distressing that your Administration would afford Russia and China the opportunity to vote on the final agreement before the American people’s representatives do….[I]t would be entirely inappropriate and divisive for your Administration to vote to lift UN-backed sanctions should Congress reject the final agreement and override a presidential veto to that effect.”  

A copy of the signed letter is available HERE

The text of the letter follows: 

Mr. President:

 

Now that the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, Germany (the “P5+1”) and Iran have reached an agreement on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, we write to urge you to delay any action by the United Nations Security Council to approve of the deal – including a significant weakening of the U.N. arms embargos on ballistic missiles and conventional weapons – until the Congressional review is complete.  Simply, the United States Congress should be given the opportunity to consider the final text of this hugely consequential agreement before action at the United Nations. 

 

Any U.S.-supported effort to lift UN sanctions before Congress has weighed-in on the terms of the agreement would undermine our oversight responsibilities and violate the spirit of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, which you signed into law.  It is distressing that your Administration would afford Russia and China the opportunity to vote on the final agreement before the American people’s representatives do.  The full 60 day review period and parliamentary procedures prescribed by the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act should be allowed to play out before action at the Security Council.   

 

Moreover, while we understand that you intend to veto any joint resolution of disapproval that Congress may send to your desk, it would be entirely inappropriate and divisive for your Administration to vote to lift UN-backed sanctions should Congress reject the final agreement and override a presidential veto to that effect. 

 

As you have said before, “our democracy is stronger when the President and the people's representatives stand together.”  While it remains to be seen whether Congress ultimately agrees with you on the merits of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, both branches of government did stand together and agree that Congress should review this agreement before its implementation. 

 

Thank you for your attention to this critical issue.  We look forward to your prompt response.

 

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