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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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