On Thursday, a senior Russian diplomat announced that Russia was nearing completion of its efforts to successfully broker a new nuclear deal between Iran and the United States, even as the Russian military continues its invasion of Ukraine.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, Russia’s ambassador for Iranian negotiations Mikhail Ulyanov made the announcement at a press gathering, with video of his statement going viral. In the statement, Ulyanov says that a new deal will be finalized within “24, maybe 48 hours.” The ambassador added that he does not believe the deal will fall through due to ongoing international backlash over Russia’s war against Ukraine.
The conditions of the new deal are still unknown, as they have largely been brokered behind the scenes between the American, Russian, Chinese, and Iranian governments. Although Congress passed a law in 2015, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which forces the office of President of the United States to first get congressional approval before signing off on any nuclear deal with Iran, the details of the upcoming second deal remain unknown even to members of Congress.
Republicans were quick to criticize the development, noting both the disastrous implications of another deal with Iran that would allow the brutal Islamic theocracy access to nuclear weapons, as well as the hypocrisy of letting Russia continue to serve as the main interlocutor in the negotiations despite the nation being in a state of war against a sovereign European nation.
“Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine is reprehensible, but we can’t lose sight of the next national security crisis as it forms before our eyes,” said Congressman Michael McCaul (R-Texas), ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “The Biden administration is reportedly rushing to finalize a deal with Iran, brokered by Russia, that it does not want Congress to review, in violation of U.S. law.”
“Congressional review of any Iran nuclear deal was enacted with broad bipartisan support to ensure legislative oversight of any dealings regarding the nuclear program of the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism,” McCaul continued. “If the administration circumvents Congress, that is a blinking red light for the American people that this is a bad deal.”
If passed, the new deal will replace the original Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was negotiated in 2015 under the Obama Administration. The deal, which was widely unpopular with the American people and resulted in widespread backlash against Obama, collapsed in 2018 after President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the deal.