Earlier this week, David Sanger reported that the administration is looking at ways to avoid a Congressional vote on a nuclear agreement with Iran, including ways to suspend sanctions via executive fiat. Jack Goldsmith takes issue with that approach, arguing that it would make any eventual deal very tenuous:
The fact that the President does not think he can get Congress on board for any deal with Iran signals to Iran that any deal would be with the President alone, and would last only as long as his waiver authority – i.e. two more years. The deal could last longer, as it did with the last major unilateral presidential deal with Iran, the 1981 Algiers Accords that effectuated the release of the hostages. In the transition between the Carter and Reagan administrations in January 1981 some in Congress and the press questioned whether President Reagan should honor the deal that Carter struck with Iran through Algerian intermediaries. President Reagan did honor it, of course, and the courts upheld his and Carter’s actions. But the situation with Iran today is different than 1981. …
The bottom line, then, is that any deal struck by President Obama with Iran will probably appear to the Iranians to be, at best, short-term and tenuous. And so we can probably expect, at best, only a short-term and tenuous commitment from Iran in return.
William Tobey is on the same page: