Leading US Lawmakers Fear Iran Deal Preserves Tehran’s Nuclear Program
U.S. lawmakers signaled trepidation as they prepared to comb through about 150 pages of the nuclear agreement with Iran announced Tuesday, with many fearing that the agreement would ultimately preserve rather than terminate Iran’s nuclear program.
Senator Bob Menedez (D-NJ) said he was concerned “the red lines we drew became 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.”
He said the agreement allows Iran to maintain its enrichment program and nuclear infrastructure intact, and that when the deal expires in 10 years the country will be standing with enough fissile material to produce a bomb.
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that as a supporter of legislation authorizing Congress a 60-day review period for the deal, he was looking forward to picking apart the deal.
“Supporting or opposing this agreement is not a decision to be made lightly, and I plan to carefully study the agreement before making an informed decision,” he said.
Meanwhile, at the House Foreign Affairs Committee, chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) decried a number of issues in the Iran deal. He criticized the Obama administration for allowing the underground nuclear site at Fordow to remain open and for agreeing to lift restrictions against Iran’s ballistic missiles program in as little as eight years — both platforms he said President Barack Obama had backed down from during negotiations.
And he criticized negotiators for agreeing to lift the international arms embargo against Iran perhaps in as little as five years from now, despite admonishments from senior defense officials otherwise.
“The essence of this agreement is permanent concessions in exchange for temporary benefits,” he said.