• Opponents of Iran deal to press for new containment measures
  • Moves comes as US prepares to approve Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

Opponents of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreed between Iran and world powers are preparing to press for new measures to contain Tehran after the US approves the deal.

President Barack Obama has now secured enough votes in the US Senate to ensure any veto he may apply to resolutions passed in Congress disapproving the JCPOA will be upheld. A total of 41 senators, all Democrats, are now reported to be ready to oppose a disapproval motion, which is expected to be voted on by the end of this week. This is sufficient to defeat the disapproval motion on the senate floor.

Critics of the deal are now calling for new measures to contain Iran.

“The US should work with likeminded partners to put in place additional ‘snapback’ mechanisms for sanctions in anticipation of possible Iranian cheating,” wrote director of the Middle East Security Programme at the Center for a New American Security Ilan Goldenberg and Nicholas Heras, a researcher at the centre, in an article published on The War on the Rocks website.

“It is vital that the US and its partners have a clear and common understanding of the types of violations they may face… (and) should also agree on the types of new sanctions they might impose in different scenarios to ensure a coordinated international response.”

Goldenberg and Heras said the US could also pursue an “aggressive sanctions strategy targeting Iranian support for terrorism and the illicit activities of the IRGC [Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps].” This might include tougher enforcement of terrorism sanctions and targeting organisations that support Iranian “terrorism”.

“These actions are likely to be supported by our European partners, and the Iranians will have too much at stake to walk away,” they said.

Goldenberg and Heras said passing new sanctions “would be premature unless we see a significant scale-up in Iran’s activities in the region”, and called for more support for Israel and closer military cooperation with the GCC.

Former US vice-president Dick Cheney called for Congress to reject the JCPOA, in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute on 8 September. “[The US administration has] presented us with a deal that strengthens our adversaries, threatens our allies and puts our own security at risk,” Cheney said. “They have placed on the table for congressional review a deal that provides weapons and funds to a regime that has pledged to destroy Israel and maintains ‘Death to America’ as a central pillar of its policies.” 

All contenders for the Republic Party’s nomination as presidential candidate in the 2016 general elections say they oppose the deal. Leading Democrat Party contender Hillary Clinton is to deliver a speech supporting the deal on 9 September. Republican Party candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz will hold a joint rally against it in Washington on the same day.

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