Senators Agree to Delay Vote on Iran Legislation

Foreign Relations Committee's vote on law forcing Obama to submit Iran deal for Congress approval postponed to April 14.

Elad Benari ,

Senate building
Senate building

Democrats and Republicans in the United States Senate agreed on Thursday to delay a vote on legislation that would force President Barack Obama to submit any nuclear agreement with Iran for Congress' approval, Reuters reported.

The vote by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has been delayed until April 14, the report said.

The announcement, which came after an intense lobbying push by Obama and administration officials, gives international negotiators more breathing room as they attempt to meet a late-March deadline for a framework agreement.

Republican Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, had said earlier this week he wanted to have the committee vote next Thursday.

Democrats balked at the idea, reluctant to advance legislation the Obama administration has said could have a "profoundly negative impact" on the nuclear talks with Iran at such a delicate time.

Obama had threatened a veto. The White House said the bill impinged on the president's authority by forcing him to obtain congressional approval, and could prevent a deal from succeeding by removing Obama's ability to temporarily waive sanctions.

In a joint statement on Thursday, Corker and Senator Robert Menendez, the top Democrat on the foreign relations panel, said they agreed to mark up after Congress returns from its early-April recess, in order to win the strongest possible support for it.

Obama has made clear that he will not submit any such deal to Congress for approval. Republicans warned in a letter to Iran last week that doing so may mean that Congress or the next president will act to nullify the accord.

The letter angered Obama, who suggested Republicans were “wanting to make common cause with the hard-liners in Iran.” Even Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, criticized the letter and said it was a sign of the collapse of “political morality” in the United States.