Washington — Should approval of an international agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear program be linked to Iran’s history of sponsoring terrorism?
That question will move to center stage Tuesday when a Senate committee considers legislation that in essence would add renouncing terrorism to the list of Iran’s commitments for the United States to honor a final deal.
The terrorism provision, as it’s called, strikes at the heart of the profound differences between President Obama and Congress over the framework nuclear accord worked out by the US and five other world powers earlier this month. Mr. Obama would leave out such provisions, counting on implementation of the agreement to modify Iran’s behavior over time. But many in Congress see an Iran set free from economic sanctions to pursue even more aggressive activities in the region.
For antiproliferation analysts and the Obama administration, the terrorism stipulation is tangential and would very likely kill the deal…
Backers of the framework deal have taken to calling such provisions “poison pills” aimed at ensuring that Iran rejects reaching a final accord.
The legislation’s terrorism provision “introduces an issue utterly unrelated to a nuclear agreement,” says Edward Levine, a member of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation’s advisory board. “It sends the message that even if Iran complies fully with a nuclear agreement,” he adds, “the United States may decide not to meet its own obligations under the agreement.”
Mr. Levine, a former senior staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says the terrorism provision is only one of several “poison pills” in the bill, sponsored by committee chairman Bob Corker (R) of Tennessee and Sen. Robert Menendez (D) of New Jersey.
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