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The Destructive Corker-Cotton Bill

As expected, Tom Cotton isn’t wasting time working on the next step to sabotage the nuclear deal. He and Bob Corker are co-sponsoring a bill that would effectively impose new demands on Iran regarding the nuclear issue that go far beyond what is contained in the JCPOA:

According to a summary provided by Corker’s office, the two Republican senators’ proposal is designed to “effectively” eliminate the deal’s sunset when it comes to U.S. sanctions.

The Corker-Cotton bill tries to rewrite the terms of the nuclear deal unilaterally. While it doesn’t reimpose nuclear sanctions right away, it is a blatant show of bad faith from our side. If it passed and became law, it would tell the Iranians that nuclear sanctions will be eventually reimposed on them even if they adhere to the terms of the deal that they agreed to. It would be an egregious violation by the U.S., and it would certainly be received as such. It shouldn’t come as a shock that Corker and Cotton are working together on this. Despite Corker’s reputation for being more “moderate,” he and Cotton are both vocal opponents of the deal and Iran hawks more generally.

The hawkish fixation on sunset clauses isn’t just a foolish misunderstanding of how these agreements usually work. As we can see with this legislation, it is something that hard-line opponents of the deal intend to use as an excuse to sabotage the agreement. Trump’s decision today not to certify the deal will be helping to clear the path for Congressional meddling like this, and we should expect more of the same in the months to come.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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