Tags: Barack Obama | Iran | Iraq | Bob Menendez | iran | nuclear | deal

Sen. Menendez: Iran Deal 'Falls Far Short' of Stated Goals

Image: Sen. Menendez: Iran Deal 'Falls Far Short' of Stated Goals
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By    |   Wednesday, 19 Aug 2015 11:57 AM

Sen. Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat who has voted with President Barack Obama  98 percent of the time for the past two years, said Wednesday that he's decided to vote against the nuclear agreement that has been reached with Iran because he believes it "falls far short" of its intentions.

"This is more than about supporting or opposing the president," Menendez told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program Wednesday. "This is one of the most significant national security nuclear nonproliferation agreements we've had in some time, and I just feel that the agreement falls far short from what our stated goals were."

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Menendez said that he votes against Obama on issues in which he has "principled disagreement," and he believes the agreement will work by "preserving Iran's nuclear infrastructure, not diminishing it, and its pathway towards a nuclear weapon is more guaranteed as a result of it at a time of their choosing."

The senator also said he rejects Obama's assertion that those who oppose the deal are making common cause with Iranian hardliners, calling it "unfortunate rhetoric."

"As someone who has supported the president 98 percent of the time and someone who helped him when I was chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee get to the Benghazi tragedy, get him an authorization for the use of military force to stop Syria's use of chemical weapons against its people, to promote his ambassadors and so much more, I think it's wrong to simply say that proposition," said Menendez.

Further, he denied the president's claims that those who oppose the Iran deal are those who also voted for the war in Iraq.

"I did not vote for the war in Iraq," Menendez said. "It was an unpopular vote but the right one. I think that we can have considered judgment and disagreement. I don't see this as a 'no-brainer.' I see this as a tough call in terms of what we will be left ahead."

The problem, Menendez said, is that the deal "puts us in a weaker position" if Iran does not hold up its end of the agreement.

He also denied that rejecting the deal would set any precedents, as there have been "over 200 times in history where Congress has rejected or saw significant modifications of treaties and international agreements, including 80 bilateral ones."

Menendez said that a vote against the agreement can also be a push for the administration to modify the agreement and make it one that could be supported.

He also said that the other negotiating countries that worked on the agreement got into the talks because they don't want Iran to have a nuclear weapon, and need the United States to make sure that does not happen.

"They care more about dealing with a $17 trillion economy than a $415 billion economy, which is Iran's," said Menendez, "and we know that as we are negotiating the Transatlantic Partnership agreement."

The senator later in the morning told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" that he believes the deal to be one of the most significant nonproliferation issues to face the United States in some time, and further, he does not know why Iran needs nuclear energy, when "for domestic energy consumption when they have the second largest oil reserves" in the world.

Menendez said there still remains more than a dozen lawmakers who have not decided on their votes.

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Sen. Bob Menendez said Wednesday that he's decided to vote against the nuclear agreement that has been reached with Iran because he believes it because it "falls far short" of its intentions.
Bob Menendez, iran, nuclear, deal, barack obama, vote
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2015-57-19
Wednesday, 19 Aug 2015 11:57 AM
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