WASHINGTON — Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin announced new legislation Thursday intended to strengthen the Iran nuclear deal.
Cardin, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced the Iran Policy Oversight Act of 2015, at a press conference alongside seven Democratic co-sponsors.
The legislation features co-sponsorship from Democrats who supported the agreement and two senators who previously expressed their opposition, including Cardin and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer.
“We were not unified in our votes, but we are unified today in our resolve to help make sure that Iran never becomes a nuclear weapons state,” Cardin said.
Co-sponsor Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet said the legislation has four key provisions, including that the administration develop regional strategies to counter terrorist threats, that funds Iran receives from sanctions relief are to be tracked, that Iran’s research and development receives routine inspections and reports, and ensuring Israel can defend itself from nuclear attacks.
Cardin said the legislation is meant to address concerns raised during the congressional review of the Iran nuclear deal, as well as comments from the public.
Delaware Sen. Chris Coons emphasized that the Iran Policy Oversight Act is not intended to renegotiate or undermine the terms of the original deal, but rather is meant to address issues that the co-sponsors believe were not fully resolved before the most recent vote.
Cardin, who announced his opposition to the Iran deal in an op-ed in the Washington Post on Sept. 4, said he has had no official forums with either Iranian or pro-Israel interest groups in the period following his decision.
“There must be zero tolerance for cheating,” Oregon Senator Ron Wyden said. “That success rests on American vigilance and a commitment from our allies to resolutely stand with us against any Iranian violations.”
Other co-sponsors included Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker. A ninth senator, Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, has since announced that he will also co-sponsor the legislation.