Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), shown here defending the government shutdown in October, wants to be redundant. (Image Source: Reuters)
Senator Bob Corker, the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is seriously considering a bill that is rather redundant. The bill concerns the current negotiations regarding the Iranian nuclear program. Senator Corker essentially wants to prevent the White House and President Barack Obama from lifting sanctions on Iran unless the Iranians yield to certain concessions on their nuclear program and reactors. The thing is, that is exactly what the White House is doing: Not lifting any sanctions unless the Iranians yield to certain concessions on their nuclear program and reactors.
In fairness, though, the idea is a little more complicated than that. Corker wants to prevent the White House from using exemption waivers that would lift certain sanctions against the Iranian government, including the Revolutionary Guards. In order to keep those waivers, the White House would have to force Iran to do all the things that the White House wants them to do: Suspend all work at the heavy water reactor in Arak, suspend missile testing (which likely includes launching rockets and sending monkeys into space), and inform the International Atomic Energy Agency the military's hand in nuclear development.
The difference between the White House and Corker's approach is that of timing: The White House feels it will take a year or two to get everything settled, as is the nature of negotiations, and wants to use the exemptions to keep them at the table. Corker believes that these key issues should be dealt with before any exemptions are made to Iran, because for some reason the Islamic Republic still needs to be sanctioned after clearing the hurdles that got them sanctioned in the first place. What would constitute a complete lift of sanctions against Iran in Corker's mind remains unknown, though it is possible that his ideas including overthrowing Ayatollah Khameini and the clerical leadership. Negotiators probably cannot do that.
The measure will likely come in the form of an amendment to the annual National Defense Authorization Act, the law that keeps the military running. Corker may also add it to a bill in the Senate Banking Committee, which oversees the financial sanctions against Iran, and may add more in the near future. If the nuclear program negotiations are derailed due to this form of redundancy, it is because, among other ridiculous reasons, Corker lacks patience. There ought to be classes for that.