Any agreement with Syria regarding its chemical weapons could open the door to a similar accord with Iran over its nuclear arsenal, Sen. Johnny Isakson tells Newsmax TV.
"It's entirely possible," the Georgia Republican said in an exclusive interview. "It could be a precursor to a diplomatically negotiated agreement with the Iranians — and we would welcome that with inspectors, third-party sequestration, and all of the protections you need to have to make sure they're not making official nuclear materials."
Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting Thursday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva regarding President Vladimir Putin's proposal that Syria turn over its chemical weapons to be destroyed via international guidelines.
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The proposal, which was made on Monday, led President Barack Obama to ask Congress to delay a vote authorizing limited military strikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad for his use of the weapons in the Aug. 21 attacks against 11 rebel-held suburbs of Damascus.
More than 1,400 people died in the assaults, the White House said, including more than 400 children.
"The power of the United States of America is always the most persuasive thing we have, as long as the will of the American people is united behind it," Isakson tells Newsmax. "The potential that the United States military carries to carry out the stated goal of getting rid of the gas was a major factor — and Assad was not going to come up with it on his own.
"But once the Russians came forward, Assad immediately said he would sign the chemical weapons agreement."
But, as with any diplomatic agreement — or in dealing with the Russians, for that matter — "the devil is always in the details," Isakson says. "What we obviously want to see are the chemical weapons in the hands of a third party, with a fair and unbiased inspector validating that they're all out of Syria.
"Hopefully, we can find a way to find common ground, sequester the gas, get it out of the hands of Assad, and have a third-party entity like the U.N. or a coalition of U.N. members overseeing and inspecting it.
"We have the ability before us to accomplish a goal of getting the gas out of the hands of Assad and doing it diplomatically — and I hope that's the way it happens."
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