Iran-US: JCPOA’s Effect On Lawmaking At US Congress – Analysis


By Reza Nasri*

One of the terms, which have been added to the United States’ political literature quite recently, is the “nuclear snapback.” This term points at a new capability, with which some American strategists and think tanks believe Iran has been endowed following the conclusion of its nuclear deal with the P5+1 group of countries, also known has the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). In fact, the Iranophobic current in Washington is complaining that as a result of the JCPOA and in return for few “technical” concessions that Iran has given the opposite side, the country has been endowed with the capability to threaten the United States with the “nuclear snapback,” (which is actually the ability to regain all its past nuclear capability), and in doing this, has practically rendered useless any US Congress laws pertaining to Iran, even with regard to non-nuclear issues.

In other words, Iranophobic groups complain that following the implementation of the JCPOA, due to the psychological and political atmosphere created as a result of the threat of the “nuclear snapback” and also due to legal limitations created at international level, the American legislature is no more able to use all of its legislative powers against Iran as it did in past years. In simpler terms, just in the same way that “Mark Dubowitz,” the executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and one of the most prominent anti-Iran figures in Washington, said in a congressional hearing session, although American lawmakers keep up their threats about passing new laws against Iran, in practice, no anti-Iran law has been finalized since the adoption of the JCPOA. In fact, if we wanted to mention one single important achievement of the JCPOA on its anniversary, perhaps it would be the structural and heavy blow, which it has dealt to anti-Iran legislative mechanisms in the United States legal system.

During past years and in the United States, any senator or member of the House of Representatives could mobilize all legal and political mechanisms of this country anytime they wanted and in the shortest period of time both within the federal government and at the levels of Congress and state administrations. As a result, they could have their security and economic bills passed in the form of binding decisions against Iran without facing the least amount of resistance and in coordination and cooperation with all relevant actors. However, at the present time, both the Iranian government and member states of the European Union and those groups in the United States, which seek to reduce tensions with Iran, are holding in their hands a political and legal document in the form of the JCPOA – with all its internal capacities, such as the “nuclear snapback” – and a binding United Nations Security Council resolution known as Resolution 2231, by the means of which they can prevent adoption of more anti-Iran bills at the Congress and defuse provocative measures by hostile groups.

Examples of hostile bills, which have been left in limbo following the implementation of the JCPOA, are not few. Examples to the point include legal bills drawn up at U.S. Congress under the pretext of Iran helping the government in Syria; bills, which were passed under the pretext that Iran supports terrorism; bills, which were drawn up to prevent cooperation between foreign banks and their Iranian counterparts; bills, which aimed to impose further restrictions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and its affiliated institutions; bills, which were meant to stop Iran’s missile program; bills, which have been set in motion under the pretext of enforcing supervision over the implementation of the JCPOA; bills passed on grounds of the “human rights” situation in Iran; and even bills, which aimed to extend the Iran Sanctions Act, which expires in December 2016. All of them were bills, which failed following the US president’s threat to veto them or through stonewalling by proponents of the JCPOA inside US Congress, or even as a result of overt and covert diplomatic pressures using the leverage of the JCPOA. In a similar turn of events, Jan Schakowsky, a US congresswoman from the state of Illinois, made reassuring remarks by saying that the bill drafted to prevent sale of Boeing airplanes to Iran, would fail to be finalized like other similar bills, which have been at odds with the JCPOA.

In fact, anti-Iran groups and pro-Israeli lobbies in Washington, who were previously in charge of lawmaking against Iran as a result of about two decades of efforts and investing billions of dollars at the Capitol Hill, now admit to the fact that their power has been reduced to the level of “show lawmaking” or pretense of lawmaking aimed at launching psychological war against Iran. Acknowledgement of this new reality can be greatly reassuring for foreign investors, who are willing to bring their money to the Iranian market. As a result, Iranian officials should put three measures on their agenda in order to make the most of this new capacity. Firstly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other state bodies in charge of attracting foreign investment must clearly show and repeatedly remind foreign investors of this new situation or this “reduced power” of US Congress by holding open and closed-door meetings with them.

In fact, any legal bill, which is drafted at the Congress with a lot of hype and subsequently fails in the face of the “JCPOA,” is like a positive point, which must be registered for Iran on the scoreboard of foreign investors, so that, the inability of US Congress will be revealed to enthusiastic investors. It is also not difficult to prove this new situation in the United States. It would suffice to compare behavioral model and lawmaking method of US Congress before the implementation of the JCPOA with the status quo. Secondly, as said before, following the JCPOA, US Congress has been reduced form a real capability and a real capacity to do harm through lawmaking to a virtual capability and only a “psychological” capacity to do harm and this has been admitted by its most influential figures as well.

In other words, anti-Iran American lawmakers are no more capable of taking advantage of their past weapon of passing “binding laws” and extraterritorial laws against the Islamic Republic. Therefore, in order to do harm to the implementation of the JCPOA and prevent foreign investment in Iran, they have no choice, but to resort to “publicity stunt.” Naturally, in order to fight them back and thwart their plans, officials in Iran must take advantage of the same “publicity stunt” tool to pave the way for foreign investment. In doing this, any measure or remark made by Iran’s officials, which could be a sign of “instability inside the country,” “temporary nature of the JCPOA,” or the “failure of the JCPOA,” would only shore up the remaining capabilities of hostile American lawmakers.

Thirdly, it is necessary for Iran’s domestic media, especially the state-run television and radio, to tell the truth to the country’s public opinion that thwarting complicated and multilayered sanctions of the past would need complicated and multilayered actions the ground for which has been fortunately provided by the JCPOA. Iran’s public opinion must know that today, as a result of the JCPOA, anti-Iran groups and countries have been stripped of many of their past leverages, including the lawmaking leverage on national, regional, and international levels, and are by no means able to do the same harm that they did to Iran in the past. However, full implementation of the JCPOA and taking advantage of its economic benefits requires shattering all secondary layers of sanctions, including the “psychological atmosphere” layer, whose maintenance and intensification is now a priority target for anti-Iran groups in Washington. As a result, people in Iran must be informed that the more they believe in the benefits of the JCPOA, the more they will be benefited by it.

*Reza Nasri
Law Expert from Geneva’s Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (HEI)
Source: Shargh Daily
Translated By: Iran Review.Org

Iran Review

Iran Review is a Tehran-based site that is independent, non-governmental and non-partisan and representing scientific and professional approaches towards Iran’s political, economic, social, religious, and cultural affairs, its foreign policy, and regional and international issues within the framework of analysis and articles.

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