By: Danielle Apfel
With the world watching, the US was finally able to come to a nuclear agreement with Iran. Earlier this week, Secretary of State John Kerry finished negotiations with Iranian leaders as well as with other major representatives from around the world. While this may appear to be a major progression for the US-Iran relationship, there is still much to do before the treaty could be formally enacted.
There is often a lot of confusion between signing a treaty, and ratifying a treaty. While the US, under the representation of Secretary of State John Kerry and his team, has come to an agreement with Iran and other major world powers, the agreement is not yet a part of our laws and responsibilities. For this to happen, a bill or resolution must first pass through Congress, and then of course be signed into law by the President. However, without Congress’ approval, matters become more complicated.
Just as with the League of Nations back in the aftermath of WWI, the US is not obligated to join a treaty they helped to create. Although Kerry finally came to an agreement with Iran and other international players, there is still a large opposition to the nuclear deal. Amongst this opposition lays Israel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as Saudi Arabian leaders, a great portion of Republican Congressmen and women, and even very pro-Israel Democrats in Congress.
All things considered, the initial agreement does not in fact mean that the deal is complete. President Obama still has a fight ahead of him in assuring that Congress decides in favor of the agreement.
In following the way the government is set up, with checks and balances for the three branches, Congress is allotted 60 days to decide on the deal. In this time, the President and his administration will do everything in their power to convince Congress to vote for a resolution in favor of the nuclear deal. However, they are also now standing against opposition in lobbyists, constituents, and individual Congressional perspectives. The initial hurdle may be over, but challenges still remain.
President Obama, ardently seeking an official nuclear agreement, has already asserted that he is unafraid to veto a Congressional decision, should they side against him. He is spreading the details of the treaty and answering questions that come his way, both from the opposition and from those still unsure of the actual terms of agreement. He has also sent Vice President Joe Biden to Capitol Hill, as leader of the Senate, to answer questions and respond to opposition.
The inner workings of the nuclear deal are still slowly coming out. While the finer details have not yet made its way to the public, more and more people are beginning to understand how the treaty would work and what compromises have been made. Sides have been drawn, and while there are those that strongly believe in the benefits of making more peaceful agreements, there are those who deeply oppose any deal that could make it easier for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. However, despite the initial agreement, it remains to be seen as to whether or not the US will actually officially adopt this new treaty.