From Macon Monitor Staff Reports:
On April 2, 2015, the Obama administration with other national administrations from China, Russia, France, Great Britain and Germany tentatively agreed upon a framework for an agreement with Iran, to be finalized by June 30, 2015, concerning the future of Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
Earlier, on March 9, 2015, alarmed about the trajectory of the administration’s negotiations with Iran and the Senate’s non-involvement in the negotiations, both of Georgia’s sitting senators, Johnny Isakson and David Perdue, joined 45 other Republican senators in signing a letter drafted by freshman Senator Tom Cotton declaring the Senate’s constitutional right to be counted on anything considered to be a treaty.
Cotton’s letter was derided by many, including former Macon Mayor Jack Ellis in the Macon Monitor, as inappropriate interference with the administration’s delicate ongoing negotiations with Iran. Former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn, who was born in Macon and raised in Perry, also was skeptical about the propriety of the Cotton letter as being “a very significant departure from the norm of American foreign policy.” Nunn is particularly prominent on questions of nuclear non-proliferation in his role co-chairing the Nuclear Threat Initiative with Ted Turner, himself also formerly of Macon.
Apparently stung by such criticisms, Senators Isakson and Perdue have so far kept a low profile in commenting further on the framework for a deal with Iran. Meanwhile, extrinsic events continue to evolve, including repeated objections from Iran about characterizations of the Obama administration about just what the “deal” is supposed to mean, and the insistence of Israel that Iran renounce its claim that Israel’s destruction is non-negotiable by acknowledging Israel’s right to exist.
Neither office of the sitting Georgia senators has yet commented on the record to the Macon Monitor on the senators’ latest positions despite the Monitor’s inquiries about the positions of the senators. Meanwhile, Senate minority-leader-in-waiting Chuck Schumer, the senior Democrat senator from New York, has himself kept a low profile on the subject, and appears poised not to object if the Senate takes a formal position against doing a deal with Iran on the apparent terms, which could undermine any deal with the United States.
The Constitution in Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 states, “[The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur….” Assuming any deal between Iran and the six other nations including the United States rises to the level of a treaty instead of a mere executive agreement, the Senate would appear to have standing to be counted on the matter, should it choose to exercise that power.
On April 8, 2015, former Senator Nunn issued a statement of his position on the framework for a deal with Iran. Despite striking a diplomatic tone, Nunn nonetheless signaled clear doubts about any deal that could not be verified, and could not provide reliable ways for the U.S. and its allies to get sufficient warning of “cheating or misconduct” so that we could still have time to move decisively to prevent final construction, testing or use of operable nuclear weaponry.
In the Senate, Bob Corker of Tennessee has introduced a bill that would require Senate approval of any agreement reached by the administration with Iran.