The artwork on this note card was created by 5768 WRJ Art Calendar artist Césan d’Ornellas Levine.
We’re closing in on just one month from the deadline for a final deal on Iran’s nuclear program, and there’s still much that needs to be figured out before all the parties can reach an agreement. Secretary of State John Kerry will be flying over to Geneva, Switzerland on Saturday to continue talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Amirhossein Zamani-Nia stated that 30% of the work of writing out the technical details of the agreement are yet to be completed, and while there’s a possibility that the negotiations could stretch beyond the end of June, US officials are focusing on finishing by the June 30 deadline.
One of the biggest details that needs to be ironed out is the extent to which nuclear inspectors will be able to examine Iranian military sites. The State Department has insisted that the framework agreement gives inspectors access to all suspicious sites in Iran, including military bases, yet Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has asserted that a deal that allows inspectors to access military bases is unacceptable. In response, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius declared he would only accept a deal that includes those provisions. Reform Movement leaders have raised questions about the framework agreement’s inspection procedures, so Iranian leaders’ unwillingness to submit to inspections of military facilities remains troubling.
Back in the United States, President Obama signed into law the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, often known as the Corker-Cardin bill, last week. The Reform Movement advocated for the bill, which represents a major compromise between Democrats and Republicans to give Congress a role in evaluating the nuclear agreement. The new law will give Congress a period of up to 52 days to evaluate the nuclear agreement (if there is one), during which time President Obama cannot lift Congressionally-imposed sanctions. Congress can prevent President Obama from lifting sanctions past the 52-day period, but only if both chambers pass a resolution rejecting the nuclear deal, and then override a near-certain Presidential veto.
At the State Department, top American negotiator Wendy Sherman has announced that she will be leaving the Obama administration after the June 30 negotiation deadline. Ambassador Sherman spoke to the RAC’s Consultation on Conscience about the Iran deal, Israel and her Jewish upbringing last month, and you can watch the video of her speech here.