Tags: corker | menendez | iran | deal

Menendez, Corker Concerned About Iran Nuke Deal

Sunday, 01 Dec 2013 02:45 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Sens. Bob Corker and Bob Menendez, both party leaders on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, say they are concerned about a deal to freeze Iranian nuclear production for six months and give the country limited relief from sanctions.

Allowing Iran to keep enriching uranium will violate the "very standards that we set in place," Corker, a Tennessee Republican, told CBS' "Face the Nation" guest host John Dickerson Sunday.

Any deal that allows enrichment will throw U.S. agreements with other countries like Vietnam and South Korea, who "have played by the rules," into disarray, said Corker.

"There are so many issues in this next six months that are not addressed," said Corker. "As a matter of fact, some people have said Iran may want to cheat over the next six months. I see no way that they're going to want to cheat. This is a total victory from their standpoint. I think they're going to be good actors over the next six months."

He said Iran's leaders now see the Obama administration as one that allows them to do the things the United Nations and world community has already said they cannot do.

"I'm very discouraged," Corker said. "I hope we're able to have a better end game than it looks like we'll have now. I think Congress can help us get there."

Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat and chairman of the committee, last week accused the Obama administration of "fear-mongering" for claims that additional sanctions on Iran would be a "march to war," said he still thinks White House press secretary Jay Carney's comments were "over the top."

"As one of the architects of the sanctions regime we've had on Iran, this is exactly the process that has brought Iran to the negotiating table," said Menendez, adding that sanctions have given more flexibility for the United States and its allies to deal with Iran.

Menendez said he is also concerned that the deal fails to define a "mutually agreeable enrichment program" and softens the UN's call for Iran to stop its enrichment programs entirely.

Another worry, Corker said is that the deal doesn't require Iran to dismantle any of its centrifuges during the next six months. Corker said he was also concerned about how "we get to a place where Iran is not enriching constantly or where they're right on the verge, always, of being able to break out and create a nuclear weapon. I have strong concerns about the proliferation that's going to occur in the area."

Corker noted that he and Menendez will work on a Congressional response to the deal, but it will still be up to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to decide if the response progresses.

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