Late Saturday evening, an announcement that a deal in which the U.S. and five other world powers agreed to ease billions of dollars worth of import-export sanctions in exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear enrichment program resulted in a range of different reactions off Capitol Hill. Congress is voicing widespread, bipartisan skepticism about the deal between the U.S. and Iran to curb that country’s nuclear program, with a group of top senators vowing Sunday to impose more sanctions on the Middle Eastern country.
“A nuclear weapons capable Iran presents a grave threat to the national security of the United States and its allies and we are committed to preventing Iran from acquiring this capability,” the group said. “We will work together to reconcile Democratic and Republican proposals over the coming weeks and to pass bipartisan Iran sanctions legislation as soon as possible.”
The group of 15 senators included Democrats Bob Cardin of Maryland and Bob Menendez of New Jersey, as well as Republicans Bob Corker of Tennessee and John Cornyn of Texas. Corker, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Sunday that Iran was celebrating because its deal overnight with the U.S. and five other world powers allows it to continue to enrich uranium while getting billions in crippling sanctions lifted. “They’re spiking the ball in the end zone,” Corker said.
The key points of the deal require Iran to halt progress toward its disputed nuclear program, in exchange for modest relief from U.S. economic sanctions that include now having access to $4.2 billion from oil sales.
Menendez, the foreign relations committee chairman, was among the most critical Democrats. “The interim agreement reached is but a beginning and a product of that policy,” he said in a separate statement. “In my view, this agreement did not proportionately reduce Iran’s nuclear program for the relief it is receiving. Given Iran’s history of duplicity, it will demand ongoing, on the ground verification.”
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, offered what appears to be the most unequivocal support for the deal. “I support the agreement … which I believe is a significant step toward solving one of the most difficult security challenges facing the world today,” she said, while also expressing caution. “By any standard, this agreement is a giant step forward and should not be undermined by additional sanctions at this time.”
“Amazing what WH will do to distract attention from O-care” tweeted Cornyn, referring to the White House and ObamaCare. His remark drew sharp rebuke from Obama 2008 presidential campaign manager David Ploufee. “No, a real distraction would be war. Like Iraq,” he tweeted in response.
Tensions will obviously be high as many believe this is only an attempt to distract from ObamaCare and feel that the United States has ‘sold-out’ some of their best allies in the Middle Eastern Area such as Israel and even Saudi Arabia.