Photo Credit: U.S. Dept. of Energy
U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. He may be a nuclear physicist, but he never read the side deals to the Nuclear Iran Deal.

In an attempt to wrest some positive concessions from the Iranians in exchange for lifting sanctions against them under the Nuclear Iran Deal, an effort was made to require Iran to recognize Israel’s right to exist and to release American hostages from captivity through the form of an amendment on Thursday, Sept. 17.

Senate Democrats rejected the attempt, preferring to preserve the Nuclear Iran Deal in its current form, rather than to make even these limited demands on the Iranians.


The amendment was offered by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). The vote was 53 – 45, and 60 senators were needed to move the measure forward.

Only one Senate Democrat voted in favor of the Protect Israel and Free Our Prisoners amendment, Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

Even the other three Democrats who publicly declared their opposition to the Nuclear Iran Deal, Sen. Bob Menendez (NJ), Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY) and Sen. Ben Cardin (MD) voted against the amendment.


Under the terms of the Iranian Nuclear Agreement Review Act (Corker-Cardin), Sept. 17 was the final day on which Congress could stop the deal from moving forward by passing a disapproval resolution.

The Obama administration will likely be permitted to enforce this aspect of Corker-Cardin despite its own failure to comply with another substantive requirement, although why that should be so is a question that needs to be addressed.

The failure of the administration to provide Congress with all documentation of all aspects of the Nuclear Iran Deal was set forth very clearly in Corker-Cardin. Congress’s 60 day review period was to begin only after the White House provided those documents. It has not done so.

No documentation was provided to Congress regarding significant portions of the Deal, the so-called secret side deals that deal with Iran’s military site at Parchin and any possible military dimensions of Iran’s previous nuclear weapons program, as was revealed over the past several weeks.

Not a single member of Congress, including all of those who declared their support for the deal, read a single document or description of those side deals. Not only that, but even the vaunted nuclear physicist, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, did not have access ever to the details or description of those matters. To the extent that members of Congress relied on Moniz’s advice to support the deal, they did so despite his failure to ever lay eyes on those all-important side deals.

The Obama administration is certainly acting as if the work regarding the Nuclear Iran Deal is over and it will begin to go into effect next month.


On the same day that the Senate rejected protection of Israel and return of American hostages from Iran, Secretary of State John Kerry named former ambassador to Poland Ambassador Stephen D. Mull as Lead Coordinator for the Nuclear Deal Implementation.

In his announcement of Mull’s appointment Kerry noted: “as we move past the 60 day Congressional review period.” Some review period.

Kerry described Mull’s experience dealing with Iran’s nuclear program:

Steve played a key role in designing United Nations Security Council Resolution 1929, which imposed additional nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, and marshalling support for its adoption by the Council. He also worked closely with the U.S. Mission to the IAEA in pressing for full accountability in Iran’s nuclear program. Steve traveled frequently to engage with foreign partners and worked across the U.S. government in support of our Iran-related efforts

There surely would have been intense criticism if Mull had not been involved in the Iran nuclear portfolio prior to this appointment. Still, having someone in the position of primary American coordinator for implementation of the Nuclear Iran Deal who oversaw a program that the administration said was insufficient to prevent Tehran from forging forward on its path to nuclear weapons is unsettling.

What is more unsettling, however, is that the administration did an end run around the majority of Congress which opposes the deal, as well as the majority of Americans, who also oppose the deal, in order to impose a new framework which guarantees Iran will become a threshold nuclear state.

The supporters of the Nuclear Iran Deal have worked overtime to prevent the Senate from actually expressing its view on the deal, even though it marks President Obama’s effort to fundamentally change the posture America has maintained for decades regarding power in the Middle East.


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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email:


  1. Because many in the Democratic party have issues being around Jews. Always remember the party that had a grand wizard of the KKK as there majority leader in the Senate is the party that doesn’t support Israel, and has destroyed inner education.

  2. Step by step…..there was probably another bill attached to it…id rather we get the treaty in place rather than send our sons and grandsons to their deaths in a war with Iran…..Give Israel some of the tools and they will take care of Iran in their own way….we can give them the support they need. there is a right way and a wrong way… Remember what John Lennon said…..Give Peace a Chance….

  3. If you look online, at some of the most respectable media, not including the NYT, of course there has been leaks the role of the extremely powerful American-Iranian lobby group which is backed by Iranian billionaires which has paid out tens of millions of dollars to Obama and Hilary’s campaigns , and very specific Democrat Senators. This has been going on for at least a decade. Since Obama’s closest advisor was an Iranian lobbyist before she officially became Obama’ s advisor, do you want to bet that many of these same Senators are now going to receive millions more for the coming election, or retirement gifts of millions or promises of jobs at Obama’s legacy foundation. Obama, from what has been seen in public, knows exactly how to use all the dirty tricks of corrupt Chicago politics, including bribes, threats, blackmail and has the backing of billions to do it.

  4. Maybe, you need to brush up on Neville Chamberlain’s “mission of peace” to secure a guarantee that there would be no further German aggression! I would think that you know the results of this “peaceful” Munich Pact! To imperil the Middle East and the world, not to mention the lives of Israeli soldiers (sons and daughters) over a rogue and demonic regime, is this your solution to ‘peace”???

  5. Everyone who reads this should email Sen. Joe Manchin and thank him for his courageous vote. I found a link to his email by clicking on his highlighted name, above, and then clicking on "Contact about a legislative issue." He will be facing a lot of flak from the administration and our thanks will be much appreciated. This is a POSITIVE step we can all take, instead of just grousing.

  6. I too would rather see a peaceful solution. Who wouldn’t? I just find it irresponsible to keep repeating that the only alternative to this deal must be war. That is just the same fear mongering that is so popular among the right. Americans are at more risk of Iran’s ICBM development being the cause of our sons and daughters dying in war. Making equal concessions and compromise is necessary from both sides. This deal is a little one sided and asks to little of Iran. I believe this deal was made so that the P-5 has access to cheap, high quality Iranian crude oil. Soon the P-5 will be held hostage by a nuclear Iran. Neil J Glickman, it will be Israeli sons and daughters first and the rest of us second. Why is it that we Americans always think we know whats best for everyone else. You would think it would be more intelligent to trust those that live in imminent danger of those threats.

  7. In both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, Obama garnered the majority of the Jewish vote. The Democrats in the senate also won the majority of the Jewish electorate. Recently, I read an article that mentioned that there are a significant amount of people in the Jewish community who support Obama’s Iranian nuclear “deal.” A case could be made that overall, the Christian community is more supportive of Israel than their Jewish counterparts. The obvious question would be, why. Here is my take. This population has substituted their religion and culture and replaced it with partisanship. Their allegiance is no longer to Judaism, it’s to the Democratic Party. Therefore, there is no conflict with the fact that Obama has been one of the most destructive and anti-Israel presidents in history. Nor is there any angst when the Democrats in the senate check their morality at the door and vote to approve Obama’s suicide pact with Iran or Democratic senators who will consistently vote to go along with Obama’s anti-Israel agenda. This is one Jew who strongly disagrees with this amoral and ethically bankrupt mindset and you can be rest assured, I will not be voting for a Democrat in the 2016 presidential elections. Another factor for this problem could be that the Jewish American community is betting on the wrong horse. If you were to ask a Jewish person in the 1930’s what their opinion was of Roosevelt, the vast majority thought he walked on water. However, in later years, it was discovered that Roosevelt was certainly not the champion of the Jews as originally thought. Perhaps it was the sign of the times and the fact that news was much less readily available and more tightly controlled back then. But, there is no excuse for this happening today. Of course, there will always be a certain amount of self-hating Jews who is willing to be self-deprecating in order to be accepted by the “in crowd.” This is another group I have no respect for. For me at least, there is no excuse why anyone would turn their back on who they are and I consider this to be a pathology of Jews not Judaism.

  8. Unfortunately, “peace” with Iran is NOT on the table, it is not an issue. Rather, it is pushing different levels of conflict. Israel will take care of itself no matter what the US or any other country does. The ‘nuclear agreement’ with Iran has very little to do with nuclear weapons (which this agreement does not prevent in practice), and which has everything to do with economic gain for Russia, China end the EU. It will destabilize the Middle East, and lead to more terrorism and wars. And guess what? The US will be involved. You can count on it. But sure, we can give peace a chance–just be careful of the cost. Sometimes “peace” isn’t what you think it would be.

  9. The Democrats who came out in favor of the deal have not allowed a vote to be taken. This of course prevents Obama from having to use his veto power.

    This also allows those same Democrats to forgo having their names go on the Senate record as having voted for (and I quote them all) "this very bad, very flawed deal". When the deal imploads, they can then claim they never voted for it.

  10. Please, as if the Republican presidential candidate, whoever he or she is, would repeal this deal, ha! A republican president is more likely to assist Iran against Iran’s enemies, against any entity coming against Iran’s nuclear facilities, and you know it! While cutting social aid and programs. No. The Republican party is not Israel’s savior! As their limp dick stand against the Iran deal demonstrates! No, American Jews will rightly stay with the democratic party.

  11. Sorry Jeremiah, I have to disagree with you. This democrat is insulted by the party for their stance on this deal. I read this deal and it is awful. There are so many bad things about this deal it’s just disturbing.

    As for the Democrats as a whole, they do not support Israel the way they did 15 years ago. The President has taken for granted the Jewish vote. We should not blindly support the party anymore. I am not saying that we should support a Republican but we need to look at candidates one by one. Schumer has done well for NY, but I am not so sure about Gillibrand. Jerrold Nadler was a traitor to his constituency with the Iran Nuclear vote.

    And by the way, Republicans support Israel more than Democrats but for selfish reasons. They feel that by supporting Jews and Israel, it will “bring Jesus back” because he can only rise when the Jews own Israel. So, your premise is incorrect. All you need to do is read the anti-Semitic NY Times and compare it to the more conservative WSJ. Who supports Israel more?

    I will concede however that s like Ann Coulter are those right wing nuts we all worry about. There are left wing nuts like her that are just as bad though.

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