By Adam Kredo
The White House has been exploring ways to circumvent Congress and unilaterally lift sanctions on Iran once a final nuclear agreement is reached, according to sources with knowledge of White House conversations and congressional insiders familiar with its strategy.
The issue of sanctions relief has become one of the key sticking points in the Iran debate, with lawmakers pushing for increased economic penalties and the White House fighting to roll back regulations.
While many in Congress insist that only the legislative branch can legally repeal sanctions, senior White House officials have been examining strategies to skirt Congress, according to those familiar with internal conversations.
Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.), who is leading the charge on new sanctions legislation, said that it is unacceptable for the White House to try to bypass Congress on such a critical global issue.
“The American people must get a say in any final nuclear agreement with Iran to ensure the mullahs never get the bomb,” Kirk told the Washington Free Beacon. “The administration cannot just ignore U.S. law and lift sanctions unilaterally.”
Congressional insiders say that the White House is worried Congress will exert oversight of the deal and demand tougher nuclear restrictions on Tehran in exchange for sanctions relief.
Top White House aides have been “talking about ways to do that [lift sanctions] without Congress and we have no idea yet what that means,” said one senior congressional aide who works on sanctions. “They’re looking for a way to lift them by fiat, overrule U.S. law, drive over the sanctions, and declare that they are lifted.”
Under the interim nuclear deal with Iran that began on Monday, Tehran will receive more than $4 billion in cash, according to the White House.
President Barack Obama could unilaterally unravel sanctions through several executive channels, according to former government officials and legal experts.
Executive orders grant the president significant leverage in the how sanctions are implemented, meaning that Obama could choose to stop enforcing many of the laws on the books, according to government insiders.
Those familiar with the ins and outs of sanctions enforcement say that the White House has long been lax with its enforcement of sanctions regulations already on the books.
“It’s no secret that the president, with executive power, can determine sanctions implementation, particularly with waivers and the decision not to sanction certain entities,” said Jonathan Schanzer, a former terrorism finance analyst at the Treasury Department, which is responsible for enforcing sanctions.
More of article at link: http://freebeacon.com/white-house-seeks-to-bypass-congress-on-iran-deal/