Negotiators in Geneva are set to blow past their latest deadline in the ongoing discussions surrounding Iran’s nuclear program.
Iran and the so-called P5+1 — the US, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Germany — have given themselves until July 7 to work out a final deal.
But the important date, at least for President Barack Obama and his team of negotiators, is July 9.
That’s the day they need to have a deal in order for it to move swiftly through Congress.
Under a compromise bill supported by bipartisan majorities in Congress that Obama signed into law, a 60-day congressional review period on the final deal was cut in half to 30 days. But that will snap back to 60 days if Obama submits the agreement to Congress later than July 9.
According to Bloomberg’s Josh Rogin, Colin Kahl, Vice President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, told an audience at a conference in Washington last week that the administration is operating as if the deadline is July 9.
That stance has raised the alarm of some critics of the negotiations.
“The fact that the Obama administration is so loathe to give Congress an extra 30 days to review what will be the most consequential national security agreement of the post-Cold War era is remarkable,” Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Washington-based Foundation for Defence of Democracies, told Business Insider.
“It tells you everything you need to know about how concerned the administration is to have a serious debate on the actual deal and its consequences.”
Reaching a deal by July 9 would mean Congress would have to vote to approve or disapprove the deal before it leaves Washington for its August recess. If the administration can’t submit the deal until later in July, it would provide Congress some leeway — likely until September.
The lengthy debate could mean louder opposition when members of Congress return home to their districts in August, with the potential to sway public opinion and, in the end, votes over a final deal.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Obama said he wouldn’t hesitate to walk away from “a bad deal” if Iran’s leaders stick to some of their recent bluster.
“There has been a lot of talk on the other side from the Iranian negotiators about whether, in fact, they can abide by some of the terms that came up in Lausanne,” Obama said.
“If they cannot, that’s going to be a problem — because I’ve said from the start I will walk away from the negotiations if, in fact, it’s a bad deal.
“If we can’t provide assurances that the pathways for Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon are closed, and if we can’t verify that, if the inspections regime — the verification regime is inadequate, then we’re not going to get a deal. And we’ve been very clear to the Iranian government about that.”
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.