News / USA

Top US Lawmakers Skeptical of Potential Iran Nuclear Pact

FILE - Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) at a new conference in January, 2013.
FILE - Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) at a new conference in January, 2013.
Michael Bowman
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected on Capitol Hill this week to brief lawmakers on international negotiations surrounding Iran’s nuclear program.  Kerry is likely to hear skepticism from lawmakers of both political parties about Iran’s intentions and trustworthiness.

During the past two days, Secretary Kerry has spoken of an accord governing Iran’s nuclear capabilities as desirable, but unrealized.

Appearing on CBS’ Face the Nation program Sunday, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker, said he is wary of any interim deal that eases sanctions against Iran in anticipation of a larger accord to end the country’s nuclear military capacity.

“[There are] a lot of concerns about the approach.  All of us want to see it resolved diplomatically.  We know the sanctions have gotten us here.  And we [lawmakers] are worried we are dealing away our leverage," said Corker.

Monday, Kerry said major powers had joined together in an agreement, but that Iran objected to it.  The secretary did not provide details of what the proposal contained.

But the very fact that so-called P+1 negotiators were ready to move ahead and Iran was not is troubling to the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  Democrat Robert Menendez spoke on ABC’s This Week program.

“My concern here is that we seem to want the deal almost more than the Iranians.  And you cannot want the deal more than the Iranians, especially when the Iranians are on the ropes [suffering economically]," said Menendez.

Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani blasted international sanctions, but said his country would continue to enrich nuclear material.  Menendez said sanctions should be maintained and even strengthened until an ironclad final accord is in effect.

“It [sanctions] is an insurance for the United States to make sure that Iran actually complies with an agreement.  It is also an incentive for the Iranians to know what is coming if you do not strike a deal," he said.

Menendez said he “looks forward” to working with other lawmakers on a new round of sanctions against Iran, but did not rule out the possibility the measures could be set aside if and when an accord with Tehran is finalized.

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Comment Sorting
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
November 12, 2013 8:52 AM
Iran should be the one proposing while the P5+1 should be weighing and considering pros and cons. What the world wants from Iran is not new, Iran should be acting on that and be showing how well it has complied so far, which should be the basis of further engagement with the UN and the P5+1. Opening up to IAEA inspection may be a welcome development, but what was Iran's initial reason for objecting to the inspection in the first place if it was not working on a military nuclear program?

Having brought the negotiations to the sanctions levels, Iran only has to comply with the UN demand for there to be a way forward. Continuing to insist on enrichment of uranium in Iran is just to replicate Iran's known hardline posture, and nobody should be in a hurry to accept such a bad deal. Iran wants nuclear power generation, the world agrees but says the fuel should only be imported. What is so attractive in Rouhani's half-baked openness that retains uranium enrichment inside Iran? Maybe to blame as sabotaging the UN , IAEA and P5+1 groups efforts in this matter is Britain wanting to jump the gun to ease diplomatic relations with Iran.

Britain deserves condemnation for that action when Iran is still under observation for its uncivilized approach to relations with other countries. It does not as yet matter that Rouhani tends to show some level of difference from his predecessor on issues like relations with the West and Israel, and on holocaust, all of which can be window dressing to achieve sanctions reprieve. Iran has not yet proved in concrete terms that it is willing to come out of its cocoon to embrace openness, drop bitter hatred of Jews and drop support and sponsorship of terrorism worldwide in order to be seen as part of the world community. Above all, Iran has not proved to grant freedom to minorities and secular views. In fact Britain's action can only be qualified as a betrayal to the world that has reposed much trust in it for direction.

by: Stehling from: NYC
November 12, 2013 4:56 AM
The power of AIPAC and the entire US Israel lobby comprising over a dozen associated political action groups in Washington, have now shown their hand by apparently taking over the Geneva conference on Iran and disrupting the democratic process.

It needs to be more widely understood that the Israel lobby that also has affiliated cells in all EU capitals including London, Paris and Berlin, which although entirely privately financed and unelected, has enormous influence over the US congress and thereby over world affairs.

The has led to the current extraordinary spectacle of the prime minister of Israel, a tiny state of just 8 million in the Middle East, now orchestrating the vitally important talks in Geneva on trade sanctions on Iran and consequently upon world economic affairs.

There is an increasing groundswell of opinion, globally, and particularly in Europe, that the diplomatic and political decisions that are properly the remit of the United Nations have been hijacked by the US Israel lobby working through its European affiliates. If correct, this is a global disaster.

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