Tags: Barack Obama | Iran | John Hoeven | traitors | letter | Iran | nuclear weapons

Sen. John Hoeven to Newsmax: We Are Not 'Traitors'

By    |   Thursday, 12 March 2015 05:32 PM

Sen. John Hoeven tells Newsmax TV it's "unfortunate" he and 46 other senators who wrote a controversial letter to Iran have been branded as "traitors" — and insists they are in no way cozying up to Iranian leaders.

"We're making it very clear in essentially a public statement that we're opposed to any agreement with Iran that would allow them to develop a nuclear weapon," Hoeven said Thursday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

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"That's exactly what Americans want — that we stand up to Iran and say no we're not going to agree to anything that allows you to develop a nuclear weapon.

"Unless you agree not to develop a nuclear weapon, we're going to keep sanctions in place."

The letter, spearheaded by Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, warned the Iranian government that no nuclear deal signed with the United States would last after President Barack Obama leaves office.

Hoeven, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and former governor of North Dakota, doesn't feel good about being called a traitor along with his fellow lawmakers for bucking the White House.

"It's unfortunate. First off, you're talking about half the Senate basically … and frankly, the senators signed the letter only after President [Barack] Obama indicated he would veto the bipartisan legislation that we're working to put together that requires he bring any agreement to Congress for a vote," he said.

"It was done because he said he wasn't going to include Congress in this very important issue. Our point is that Congress needs to be part of this.

"Under Article I of the Constitution, Congress has a role to play here and you have to ask yourself, here he is willing to negotiate with the No. 1 sponsor of state terrorism in the world and that he won't work with Congress. Why? It doesn't make any sense."

Hoeven said he is perplexed by Secretary of State John Kerry's statement that Congress has no role in the Iran talks and cannot change the agreement if it's reached — because it's not a legal document.

"That's what's so hard to understand and disappointing in that they want to get into this discussion of procedure and twist it around into something that is not," Hoeven said.

"We should be focused on the substance and that is that we can't have the administration signing an agreement with Iran that would allow them to build a nuclear weapon and, at the same time, seeking to reduce the very sanctions that Congress put in place to prevent Iran from building a nuclear bomb.

"What the president is doing is what increases the risk of a military confrontation, because if we don't keep the sanctions in place and end up with the kind of agreement they're talking about providing to Iran, then the only recourse would be a military strike to take out their nuclear weapon once they develop that."

He said the uproar over the Iran letter showed there was a double standard for Republicans and Democrats considering Rep. Nancy Pelosi traveled to Syria in 2007 in defiance of President George W. Bush.

"No question about it. How about Vice President [Joe] Biden himself who … [went] to Georgia in 2008 when President Bush was trying to negotiate the hostilities between Russia and Georgia," Hoeven said.

"It does seem like an attack on substance and misrepresenting it rather than dealing with the real issue and the real issue is that any agreement should be brought to Congress.

"What serves the American people and really everybody is that we don't end up with an agreement that allows Iran to get a nuclear weapon."

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Sen. John Hoeven tells Newsmax TV it's unfortunate he and 46 other senators who wrote a controversial letter to Iran have been branded as "traitors" - and insists they are in no way cozying up to Iranian leaders.
John Hoeven, traitors, letter, Iran, nuclear weapons
Thursday, 12 March 2015 05:32 PM
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