This Lawsuit Against Biden Administration Could Stop a New Iran Nuclear Deal

Getty Images
April 14, 2022

A conservative legal group is threatening to smack the Biden administration with a lawsuit intended to thwart the implementation of a new Iran nuclear deal.

The America First Legal Foundation, a group of conservative lawyers and activists, notified the Biden administration that it "intends to take legal action to block any Biden-Iran deal that is not submitted to Congress" for approval, according to a litigation notice letter sent to the White House on Thursday and obtained exclusively by the Washington Free Beacon. The letter also requests that the administration preserve all internal documents and communications related to the deal so that they can be used as part of a future court case.

The legal group is engaging Republican lawmakers on the effort amid growing concerns that the Biden administration will circumvent Congress to ink a new deal, which would violate a 2015 law mandating that any new agreement with Iran be brought before the legislative branch for approval.

The legal threat is a sign of mounting opposition to a new nuclear accord and presents a new avenue to force the Biden administration into bringing the deal to Capitol Hill for a vote. With a new accord seemingly imminent, Republican lawmakers and some Democrats are concerned the administration will violate the law to push the deal to the finish line. Republican foreign policy leaders in Congress told the Free Beacon a lawsuit could delay the deal's implementation and force the administration into disclosing the full terms of a new deal, which will provide Tehran with billions of dollars in cash revenue and remove virtually all sanctions on the hardline regime.

Rep. Scott Perry (R., Pa), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee who has been briefed on the legal organization's lawsuit, told the Free Beacon the threat of a prolonged court case "puts the administration on notice so that they think twice before proceeding." The move, he said, "would likely delay any final action while chilling confidence in any potential agreement the terrorists in Iran may be considering and, in the best-case scenario, would void anything that was agreed upon without following the law."

Perry said the Biden administration has attempted to hide details of the deal from Congress, even in classified settings. The administration also has yet to guarantee that a deal will be brought to Congress before it is agreed upon.

"Almost all of the information we have about these proceedings has been in open-source reporting," Perry said. "Even in closed door briefings at the request of relevant committees, members are unable to get their specific questions answered."

The legal group's letter requests that the White House, State Department, and other federal agencies "segregate and preserve all records … that might be relevant to this matter."

"You are on notice to cease and desist from deleting or destroying all records, including but not limited to emails, whether under an agency document destruction policy or otherwise," the notice states. The America First Legal Foundation "considers these records to be valuable and irreplaceable sources of discoverable information."

If the case makes its way to court, the American public could get a look into the Biden administration's closed-door diplomacy with Tehran. This would include reams of information on the concessions discussed, such as removing Iran's regional terrorist forces from the sanctions list. It would also provide a window into the United States' reliance on Russia to secure a new accord. Moscow has served as the administration's top interlocutor in talks and stands to gain billions of dollars in revenue to build out potions of Iran's nuclear infrastructure when sanctions are waived.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), a leading opponent of the deal, told the Free Beacon the Biden administration will skirt Congress because it knows there are not enough votes to endorse a deal.

"The Biden administration's deal will lift non-nuclear terrorism sanctions, pour tens of billions of dollars into Putin's coffers for nuclear work, pour hundreds of billions of dollars into the Ayatollah's coffers to spread missiles and war across the Middle East—and ultimately put Iran on a glide path to a nuclear weapons arsenal," Cruz said. "The administration has a constitutional obligation to submit any new Iran deal to the Senate for ratification as a treaty and a legal obligation to submit the deal and all secret side deals for certification."

But "they won't, because they know that Congress would reject the deal," Cruz said. "So instead, we will do everything in our power to ensure it is never implemented and, if implemented, quickly reversed."