Corker: We'll pass Iran sanctions bill
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Senate passes 0B defense bill Corker pressed as reelection challenges mount MORE (R-Tenn.) on Wednesday said there will be a "pent up demand" within the Senate to extend an Iran sanctions law, suggesting the proposal could be passed this fall. 

"My guess is, by the way, that one of the first things Congress will do when we finish this debate, I would say give it 60 days, we will pass that extension," Corker told reporters after an evening briefing with Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. "Even though Iran says, you know, that they believe anything to that effect would be in violation [of the deal]." 
 
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Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) introduced legislation earlier this year to extend the Iran Sanctions Act, which expires at the end of 2016, for another 10 years. 
 
The legislation targets Iran's nuclear and missile programs, as well as human rights violations and support for terrorism.
 
The administration has voiced skepticism about renewing the sanctions law. During a Foreign Relations Committee hearing last month, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew staid it would be "premature." 
 
Corker on Wednesday said lawmakers "cannot get an answer on this" but suggested senators would renew the law even if they ultimately upheld the Iranian nuclear deal. 
 
"Let's say the administration is victorious and this moves on — I think there's going to be a huge pent up demand on both sides of the aisle, 30 or 60 days after the fact," he added. "If you don't extend ISA, you have nothing to snap back [if Iran violates a deal]." 
 
Lawmakers have voiced concerns that Iran thinks if they renew the sanctions law, it would count as violating the nuclear agreement. 
 
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), considered a senator to watch on the Iran debate, suggested the administration's reluctance to back reauthorizing the sanctions law raises concerns about its willingness to stand up to Tehran. 
 
"We are assured by the administration that under the JCPOA, Congress retains all tools, including sanctions, should Iran involve itself in terrorist activity in the region. However, the plain text of the JCPOA does not seem to indicate this," he added. "The degree to which the administration has resisted even the suggestion that Congress reauthorize the Iran Sanctions Act, for example … makes us question our willingness to confront Iran when it really matters down the road." 
 
Senators have until Sept. 17 to pass a resolution on the Iran nuclear deal, with Congress having until early October to override a potential veto from Obama.