Pete Hoekstra to Newsmax: 'I'm a Huge Skeptic'on Iran Deal

Saturday, 23 Nov 2013 11:47 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra said late Saturday that Newsmax should "count me as a huge skeptic" of the deal in which Iran would receive $4.2 billion and limited sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

"This president hasn't developed the trust in his foreign policy judgment over the past five years," Hoekstra said in an exclusive Newsmax interview. "He's got a Middle East policy that is in tatters.

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"All we have to show for this agreement is that two of our staunchest allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia, are very skeptical of it. They're wondering where the United States is heading when they've got an agreement with Iran.

"They may or may not abide by the limitations on their nuclear program, but they're getting immediate relief of sanctions," Hoekstra said of Iran. "They'll continue to fight us in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan."

According to news reports, Iran will get limited sanctions relief on gold, petrochemicals and automobiles as part of the agreement.  The deal is a six-month interim accord — and sanctions would be reimposed quickly if Iran was caught cheating.

In addition, Iran has agreed to stop enriching uranium to a high level and to do that would "dismantle the links between networks of centrifuges," The New York Times reports.  Any uranium that had been enriched further would be diluted or converted so that it could not be used for arms.

But that's not enough for Hoekstra, who served eight terms in the House of Representatives before leaving office to run unsuccessfully for Michigan governor in 2010. He chaired the Intelligence Committee from 2004 to 2007, and currently serves on the Advisory Board for Lignet.com.

"What Iran got tonight was immediate relief of sanctions. That begins tonight," he told Newsmax. "They’re getting a break beginning right now — and they've got a plan to start moving money around, getting essential materials into their country that are going to alleviate some of the problems they've had with sanctions. That's going to prop up the regime.

"Then, the question becomes: 'When do we get access to their nuclear programs? When do we get access to make sure we're stopping their program, or that they have stopped them?'"

He added: "This administration has a habit of immediately claiming victory instead of saying, 'Let's see where we are in 12 months.' They claimed victory in Egypt. It was disastrous. They claimed victory in Libya. It's been disastrous. They claimed victory in Iraq, and Iraq has not been good. They claimed success with Obamacare when they passed it. It's been disastrous.

"It's too early to claim success. Let's see where we are in 12 months," Hoekstra said. "This strength of the hand of Iran weakens our position in the region."


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