Tags: Fox News | Iran | Tom Cotton | nuclear deal | military force | Ali Khamenei

Sen. Cotton on Iran: 'Credible' Force Threat by Obama Would Help

By    |   Thursday, 07 May 2015 11:42 AM

President Barack Obama has said the threat of military action has remained on the table when it comes to the ongoing talks with Iran over its nuclear capabilities, and Sen. Tom Cotton said Thursday he wishes the president "would make that a more credible threat."

"That would improve our position," the Arkansas Republican told Fox News, in response to news that Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday accused  U.S. officials of threatening a military attack against his country, something he warned could torpedo the proposed nuclear deal

"This latest barn-burner speech by Ayatollah Khamenei is the reason the president shouldn't go down on this," said Cotton. "They chanted 'death to America, death to England, death to Israel.'"

Story continues below video.

Further, said Cotton, the Iranian supreme leader last month insisted his country "did not want to make any kind of agreement last month with the United States. He disputed key concessions that President Obama and Secretary [John] Kerry said they had made.

"We need to drive a tougher deal that would stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons, not just today, tomorrow, 10 or 15 years from now."

Cotton helped spearhead the unprecedented open letter to Iran signed by 46 GOP colleagues cautioning the Islamic Republic that any deal its leaders arrive at with the Obama administration on its nuclear program will be subject to Senate oversight, and said a vote was expected Thursday to move legislation on such an agreement.

"We do expect to have a vote today, [the] first in a debate to move on to final passage of legislation," said Cotton. "In the end the legislation sets up a process and it is a process that our Constitution doesn't put in place.

"The president should have to come to Congress to get 67 votes in the Senate, a two-thirds majority for any kind of arms agreement, especially one with an Islamist terrorist sponsoring state."

Cotton said Obama reversed the constitutional rule, and forced opponents of his "dangerous deal" to get 67 votes.

"I don't think that is the right way to go," said Cotton. "We need to do everything we can as Congress to stop the president from reaching this very bad and very dangerous deal with Iran."

Cotton denied reports that members of his party are fighting over the bill and putting it in jeopardy.

"We've been working constructively as Republicans in the Senate to try to toughen this bill," Cotton said. "Sen. [Marco] Rubio has an amendment, for instance, that would simply require the president to certify that the terms of the fact sheet he released last month about the proposed deal with Iran had been met before sanctions are lifted."

Democrats objected to the amendment, said Cotton, "because the president has already begun to walk away from his own fact sheet."

Cotton says he has proposed amendments saying that Iran should have to close its underground bunker before sanctions relief is approved.

"Our amendments are designed to improve the legislation," he said. "In the end it is only Democratic intransigence that is stopping from the amendments moving forward."

But regardless if the bill passes the House and Senate, Congress will have a say in the agreement, said Cotton.

"We have inherent constitutional authority for any legislation that would stop a dangerous deal with Iran going forward," said Cotton. "That will be my priority, stopping an agreement with Iran that would let them get a nuclear weapon and threaten the United States and our allies. Not today or tomorrow."

Cotton said "we need to get this right, rather than get it fast," as there is no urgency about getting the bill finished since no deals will be reached with Iran until at least the end of June.

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President Barack Obama has said the threat of military action has remained on the table when it comes to the ongoing talks with Iran over its nuclear capabilities, and Sen. Tom Cotton said Thursday he wishes the president "would make that a more credible threat."
Tom Cotton, nuclear deal, military force, Ali Khamenei
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2015-42-07
Thursday, 07 May 2015 11:42 AM
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