Tags: Castro-Cuba | Iran | iran | mcconell | menendez | hard | sell

McConnell, Menendez: Iran Deal Will be 'Hard Sell' in Congress

By    |   Sunday, 12 July 2015 10:46 AM

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and other congressional leaders are expressing doubts about Congress signing off on a historic agreement with Iran to address that country's nuclear program.

McConnell said on "Fox News Sunday" that the deal will be "a very hard sell" for the Obama administration in Congress.

McConnell spoke shortly after diplomats said on Sunday that negotiators at the Iran nuclear talks were expected to reach a provisional agreement to curb the country's atomic program in return for sanctions relief.

New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the pending deal makes him anxious because the United States has gone from making sure Iran does not have nuclear capability to managing it.

Menendez spoke on ABC's "This Week."

McConnell said he would have preferred ratcheting up sanctions since that's what brought Iran to the negotiating table in the first place, but since President Barack Obama has decided to pursue a deal, Congress is interested in learning what the Iranians have done in the past in nuclear research, and whether that information is verifiable.

"Will we be able to look at all their military bases?" he said. He's also concerned with Iran's activities fighting proxy wars in places such as Syria, Gaza and Yemen, which isn't even mentioned in the deal. Neither is Iran's ballistic missile capability, which could deliver nuclear warheads to the United States.

Should the deal end up with a resolution of disapproval from Congress and Obama vetoes it, he would need 34 senators to override.

Democrats will feel a strong pull not to go against the president on something so important to him, McConnell said, but he added that he hopes enough members of the other party will look at it objectively.

McConnell also touched on normalizing relations with Cuba. He said Congress is unlikely to confirm an ambassador to Cuba, but added that he isn't sure if the White House may well "believe they don't need that."

There is no evidence the communist Cuban government has changed its ways, McConnell said, and Congress is unlikely to drop sanctions against the Castro regime.

"What this president's been involved in is talking to a lot of countries. Talk, talk, talk. And Cuba's a good example," he said. "He thinks that simply by engaging with them we get a positive result."

McConnell noted that former President Jimmy Carter said he'd be hard pressed to think of any place in the world where the United States is in better shape now than before Obama came to office.

"President Carter got it right," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and other congressional leaders are expressing doubts about Congress signing off on a historic agreement with Iran to address that country's nuclear program.McConnell says on Fox News Sunday that the deal will be a very...
iran, mcconell, menendez, hard, sell
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2015-46-12
Sunday, 12 July 2015 10:46 AM
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