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March 4, 2014 12:45 pm

Sen. Menendez: International Community ‘Seems to Want Any Deal’ With Iran

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Sen. Robert Menendez. Credit: U.S. Senate. On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) said he supports a diplomatic process with Iran, but that he is troubled that the international community “seems to want any deal more than it wants a good deal.”

“When it comes to Iran, I have stood with you and have stood against so many in my own party,” Menendez—chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and coauthor of the Menendez-Kirk Iran Sanctions Bill (S. 1881)—told delegates at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference.

Menendez said it is clear that “only intense punishing economic pressure influences Iranian leaders,” and that pressure on Iran should only be relieved “in exchange for verifiable concessions” towards the dismantling of Iran’s illicit nuclear program.

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New sanctions, explained the senator, could take a year to become effective.

“If negotiations fail, or if Iran breaks the deal, we may not have time to pass new sanctions,” he said. “New sanctions are not a spigot that can be turned on and off, as suggested.”

Iran’s strategy “is to use these negotiations to mothball its nuclear infrastructure program just long enough to undo the international sanctions regime,” Menendez said.

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