Tags: Barack Obama | Iran | Bob Corker | Iran Deal | Nuclear Arms

Corker Thankful But Disappointed in Iran Agreement Delay

Corker Thankful But Disappointed in Iran Agreement Delay
(Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 07 July 2015 02:23 PM

Sen. Bob Corker says he's thankful that negotiators in the Iran talks are taking their time and "not trying to meet some arbitrary date," but he is "fairly despondent" that there are still serious remaining issues that have not been solved.

"At the end of the day and in 10 years, Iran is going to have an agreed-to, industrialized enrichment program," the Tennessee Republican told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell on her program Tuesday. "They're obviously going to be able to continue research and development."

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Corker said Iran has done "just a masterful job" when it comes to getting negotiators focused on antiquated centrifuges while allowing research and development to continue. However, he is concerned that there are "qualitative issues that could make a bad deal worse."

"I'm thankful they're doing what we've requested, and to please, on these last remaining items, take your time and try to get them as good as you can knowing the context is not that great," Corker said.

Corker, head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called Secretary of State John Kerry last week to demand that any deal include a clause that allows UN inspectors to tour Iran's nuclear sites at any time, which Iran opposes.

His committee was to start discussing the deal as of Thursday, but on Tuesday, negotiators in Vienna said the matter would be delayed until at least Friday. If committee members had reached the agreement by Thursday, they would have had 30 days to discuss it before moving it on for a congressional vote. Now, since that deadline will be missed, the committee will have 60 days, reports the Israeli publication Haaretz.

Blocking a deal will require a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress, as President Barack Obama is expected to veto any attempt to stop a deal his administration believes will cut off Iran's path to a nuclear weapon.

Corker on Tuesday told Mitchell that the world community has been involved in putting sanctions in place against Iran, but with the possible agreement, "after year 10 there's something called the Iranian nuclear development program, a document that we have not seen. But what that does is allow them to tremendously ramp up and industrialize their enrichment."

It's been demonstrated, he said, that under the Obama administration, "sanctions are not something that will keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon."

"I look forward to the details, but I am very, very concerned about the trend, the direction, I've said this several times, the direction of these negotiations for some time," the senator  told Mitchell. "But again, on these final points, you know, any time, anywhere inspections, please, yes, take your time and at least try to get these in the best place you possibly can."

Mitchell told Corker that Monday night Texas Sen. Ted Cruz called for all Republicans and Hillary Clinton that helped start the negotiations with Iran should demand that Kerry return home, but Corker refused comment on Cruz's position.

"I'm not going to respond to every comment that's made about what people ought to be doing," Corker told her. "Candidates are going to be out trying to distinguish themselves on multiple issues, and I just don't think as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee it's my role to respond to those."

However, he did admit that he's disappointed at where the negotiations are on July 7, "in a situation where he had six great countries or six important countries, dealing with one country that [we] really had, you know, a boot on its neck. How they've been able to sort of turn the tables in such a way that they have, to me, is pretty remarkable."

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Sen. Bob Corker says he's thankful that negotiators in the Iran talks are taking their time and "not trying to meet some arbitrary date," but he is "fairly despondent" that there are still serious remaining issues that have not been solved.
Bob Corker, Iran Deal, Nuclear Arms
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2015-23-07
Tuesday, 07 July 2015 02:23 PM
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