Tags: Iran | reid | schumer | iran | sanctions

Iran Deal Puts Reid on the Spot

Image: Iran Deal Puts Reid on the Spot

Tuesday, 26 Nov 2013 09:50 AM

By Melanie Batley

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is finding himself in a difficult position after a number of senior Democrats in the Senate criticized the administration's nuclear deal with Iran and pledged to pursue tough new sanctions on the country.

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, one of Reid's closest allies and advisers, is leading the charge among Democratic lawmakers and issued a strongly-worded statement about the terms of the deal. He said he was "disappointed" in the agreement because it didn't go far enough to curb Iran's nuclear capabilities, and pledged to develop legislation in December for additional sanctions.

There are signs, however, that the two top lawmakers could be pitted against each other as Reid takes a softer approach to avoid undermining the deal forged by the administration, according to the New York Post.

"If we need more work on this, we need to do stronger sanctions, I'm sure we will do that," Reid said Monday, according to Politico. "We all have to acknowledge it's an important first step. Is the first step good enough? We'll take a look at that."

Other senior Democrats in the Senate are lining up behind Schumer, including Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal who told Politico, "We need to show strength and resolve because right now, the Iranians may mistake this agreement as an easing of potential sanctions. The rest of the world also should in no way be misled and think that these sanctions are going away."

Senior Republicans appear to be in step with their Democratic colleagues, including South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has said the agreement leaves Iran "on the verge" of developing nuclear weapons.

President Barack Obama, meanwhile, is launching an "aggressive campaign" to encourage Congress not to issue new sanctions, which he believes could derail the delicate international agreement.

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