Samore Says Congress Unlikely to Reject Nuclear Deal

by Eli Clifton

United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) president Gary Samore made a surprising admission on Monday when he said that Congress was unlikely to override a presidential veto of any new sanctions-related legislation in the wake of a nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1.

Speaking on a panel at Columbia University, Samore evaded a question posed by me (viewable here and here) about the discrepancies between his generally more-moderate positions on Iran and the hawkish stances taken by UANI itself, a Sheldon Adelson-funded group which has gone so far as to oppose legal, humanitarian trade with Iran.

Samore’s remarks came on the eve of an anticipated announcement in Switzerland of a framework agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1 after several days of intense negotiations. That agreement, which is supposed to be followed by a comprehensive accord before July 1, will almost certainly be the subject of pending legislation—the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 co-sponsored by Sens. Bob Corker and Robert Menendez—that could limit Obama’s authority to implement the agreement or reject it outright. Corker has scheduled a mark-up of his bill by the Foreign Relations Committee for April 14, setting the stage for the legislation to go the Senate floor at any time in the weeks that follow. Obama, meanwhile, has repeatedly vowed to veto the Corker-Menendez bill or any other sanctions-related legislation that comes to his desk once a deal has been reached.

Given the hardline positions taken by UANI, one might have expected Samore, who served as the White House Coordinator for Arms Control and Weapons of Mass Destruction from 2009 to 2013, to speak out strongly in favor of overriding any presidential veto.

But Samore instead essentially made the administration’s case against an override, suggesting that far too much was at stake for Congress to sabotage an agreement made by “all the major powers.”

If an agreement emerges, there may be a majority in both houses that are willing to vote against it. But I don’t think there’s a two-thirds majority because at the end of the day Congress isn’t going to want to take responsibility for blowing up an agreement that’s supported by all the major powers in the world and puts us in a position where for us to try to, you know, restore the sanctions regime where we’re the ones who have rejected an agreement? That’s very, very difficult.

Watch it:


Eli Clifton

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. He is a co-founder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Eli previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.



  1. Sanity rules the day? Perhaps, but what about the excuses that they will have to provide at the “Alter of the bag of Silver”? Excuses, right, as in “O” made me do it. What’s the alternative, war? If that’s the only one, then each of the naysayers should be made to be the first ones on the lines, and I don’t mean the unemployment line. I might add, those who advocate war/rejection of the deal, are as guilty as those who vote against such, so they can be the first up in front. Harsh, not as harsh as the grunts who will have to do the heavy lifting if these so-called patriots get their way. As for those members who may have already served, they seem to have lost their way, so they need a refresher course as to what reality is, from the front of a gun barrel.

  2. The Congress is unlikely to reject a nuclear deal? But any such deal, if it might happen, including any provisions on lifting sanctions, would not eliminate existing US sanctions imposed by the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 and the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010.

  3. Abbas Araqchi told reporters on Wednesday that Tehran and the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) could issue a final statement on resolution of key issues.

    Deputy Foreign Minister stressed that any agreement between Iran and the G5+1 should guarantee removal of all sanctions and do not prevent Iran’s research and development on advanced centrifuges.

  4. Hopefully Mr Samore is being on the level and now the instigator of a cruel April Fools joke. Speaking of which if Congress wants to do something useful it should outlaw April Fools Day, imposing sanctions on those pranksters who don’t comply.

  5. Israel refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Why then does Israel have a right to
    interfere in Iran’s pursuit of uranium research for medical purposes?

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