Trump should send Iran's nuclear deal to the Senate

President Trump could then do what President Obama should have done: Submit the JCPOA to the Senate as a treaty for its review. This time, the administration and the Republican-controlled Congress would be working in conjunction rather than at cross-purposes. That means Senator Corker, rather than futilely trying to pressure the White House and State Department for cooperation, could expect full compliance with his demand for disclosure of all written side deals and oral understandings among the parties. That includes agreements that should have been in the main JCPOA but that Obama, in order to keep Congress in the dark, allowed to be consummated as private deals between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Simultaneously, President Trump should announce that the United States does not consider itself bound by Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorses the JCPOA. Trump could explain that international endorsements cannot suffice to create American legal obligations in the absence of adherence to U.S. constitutional procedures. He could elaborate that this is not a rejection of the resolution, any more than submission of the JCPOA for Senate review is a tearing up of the agreement. It is, rather, a delay in further international proceedings while Trump complies with his oath to preserve, protect, and defend our Constitution and to see that our laws are faithfully executed.

The Senate should then do what it was unable to do in 2015: perform its constitutional advice-and-consent function. Senator Corker could ensure that all agreements and understandings attendant to the JCPOA are fully examined in hearings. His committee could test President Obama’s principal claim in favor of the agreement — namely, that it provides truly verifiable restrictions, including meaningful inspections, to prevent Iran from weaponizing nuclear materials.

Equally critical: Corker’s committee could debate whether it is sensible to lift sanctions while Iran not only continues to be the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism but is also actively engaged in enhancing its ballistic-missile and other defense capabilities.