The Iran nuclear deal negotiated by President Obama was dealt a massive blow Tuesday when a second Senate Democrat publicly announced his opposition to the agreement, joining about a dozen House Democrats.
Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., the former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Tuesday in a speech at Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J., that he could not support the deal, NBC News reported.
“I have looked into my own soul and my devotion to principle may once again lead me to an unpopular course, but if Iran is to acquire a nuclear bomb, it will not have my name on it,” Menendez said. “It is for these reasons that I will vote to disapprove the agreement and, if called upon, would vote to override a veto.”
The senior senator from the Garden State has been widely regarded as tough on the Islamic republic — he even excoriated the deal in a statement after it was reached last month:
I’m concerned that the deal ultimately legitimizes Iran as a threshold-nuclear state. I’m concerned the redlines we drew have turned into green-lights; that Iran will be required only to limit rather than eliminate its nuclear program, while the international community will be required to lift the sanctions, and that it doesn’t provide for anytime-any-place inspections of suspected sites. The bottom line is: The deal doesn’t end Iran’s nuclear program – it preserves it.
Coupled with other details, the Iran deal is designed to reduce the number of Iranian centrifuges by two-thirds, ban enrichment at key facilities, and limit Iran’s nuclear material stockpile to 300 kg for 15 years. Instead of two to three months, the U.S. believes it will take the Iranians one year to assemble its first nuclear bomb once the provisions of the deal expire.
Shortly after the deal was reached, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and Secretary of State John Kerry appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to present the deal. It led to a tense exchange between Kerry and Menendez concerning, among other things, a “snapback” provision that would restore economic sanctions on Iran if the nation violates the deals’ terms.
“If you’re going to snapback, you have to snapback to something,” Menendez said forcefully at the time.
“But senator,” Kerry interrupted, “Senator, snapback is what gives you permission to come back.”
“Let me finish, Mr. Secretary please, don’t eat up my time,” Menendez shot back.
It’s next year! So I don’t understand how we ultimately have a credible belief that snapback means something if in fact you are not going to have the ability to have those sanctions in place!
Menendez joins Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., as the only other Senate Democrat to publicly oppose the Iran deal. Coupled with 54 Republicans who are voting or are likely to vote no, the Senate only needs four more Democrats to publicly oppose the deal to reach 60 votes – a veto proof majority to ensure the deal does not become law.
h/t: The Hill
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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth