Biden admin keeping Russia/Iran deal secret from Congress

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

As we’ve discussed here previously, the Biden administration has been in negotiations with Iran through third parties in Vienna for some time now without ever providing updates to Congress or the press. We finally got a peek inside of those meetings earlier this month thanks to a few off-the-record sources speaking to The Atlantic, and the news wasn’t good. This week, however, there was another unpleasant revelation that came to light. According to two GOP House members, Russia attempted to close a deal of their own with Iran and the American government knew about it. The agreement would have granted sanctions relief to Iran in exchange for some new limits on the Iranian nuclear program. The deal didn’t wind up going through, but the fact that the Biden administration was in the loop on this and never briefed Congress is not only yet another instance of a lack of transparency but may, in fact, have been illegal. (Free Beacon)

The Biden administration is withholding a “secret agreement” with Iran from Congress as negotiations over a revamped nuclear deal continue in Vienna, according to two Republican lawmakers.

Reports emerged late Friday that Russia proposed an interim nuclear deal to Iran with the knowledge of U.S. officials. The deal would reportedly lift some sanctions on Iran in exchange for a limited set of restrictions on the country’s nuclear program. Russia offered the deal to Iran on the sidelines of ongoing negotiations in Vienna, according to NBC News, which first reported on the document…

“Russia sent a secret agreement to Iran,” Rep. Michael McCaul (R., Texas), lead Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Washington Free Beacon on Friday during a press call. “Russia is trying to take the lead now in the negotiations with Iran. This is a secret agreement. We haven’t seen it.”

Just like the negotiations that the Biden White House engaged in with the Taliban, all of this is happening away from the prying eyes of the public and Congress. But unlike the meetings with the Taliban, the Iran negotiations carry certain requirements of the administration under the force of law. Back in 2015, the Iran Nuclear Deal Review Act was signed into law. It requires any new deal with Iran to be presented to Congress for review before it can be signed.

That law was passed by a veto-proof majority in 2015 after Barack Obama entered into the original deal with Iran without any appreciable congressional oversight. And now, just as with so many other foreign policy actions, Joe Biden’s administration is keeping all of these things secret from both Congress and the public. So much for “the most transparent administration ever,” eh?

It certainly sounds as if some oversight is called for considering the miserable state of our relations with numerous countries at this point. Iran is particularly problematic, however. The only reason they reportedly rejected the deal with Russia (who the Iranian mullahs have been getting very chummy with lately) is that they felt they could pry a much better deal out of the White House, including vast amounts of frozen assets being freed up. At the same time, Iran has entered into a formal, long-term business relationship with China, so they are readily able to thwart most of the sanctions placed on them anyway.

The bulk of the attempt to negotiate with Iran has been left in the hands of Robert Malley, Biden’s Special Representative for Iran. And as we previously reported here, Malley has botched the job badly. But he still has yet to be replaced with someone who has a better understanding of how the Iranians negotiate and the ability to bring more players to our side of the table.

This combination of excessive secrecy and a mainstream media that’s largely willing to avoid asking too many pesky questions about anything a Democratic president does is adding up to be a toxic mixture. And it needs to come to an end.