While the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”) appears to have overcome the last major congressional hurdle to implementation, the latest quixotic attempt to tie sanctions relief to Iran’s payment of damages to plaintiffs in terrorism-related lawsuits notwithstanding, Congress has made it abundantly clear that legislative efforts vis-à-vis Iran will continue. Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ), who both voted against the JCPOA, have made it their mission to seek a decade-long extension of the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 (“ISA”), which is due to expire in December 2016. To that end, they have introduced S.1682, the “Iran Sanctions Relief Oversight Act of 2015” and have pressed administration officials on an ISA extension, most notably during Adam Szubin’s confirmation hearing for Undersecretary of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. The crux of their argument in favor of extending ISA is that absent reauthorization, the United States will have nothing to “snap back” should Iran violate the nuclear deal.
This position is questionable for a number of reasons.
The rest of this post can be viewed at The Brookings Institution’s Lawfare Blog.