The former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said he fears that the Obama administration won’t even enforce its Iran deal unless Congress passes legislation.
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) called the agreement “a victory for Iran.”
“It’s a defeat for the U.S. What it does is it allows Iran to maintain the key component of its proposed nuclear weapons plan, you know, the whole idea of enriched uranium. And we’ve now basically given the right to have that. In return, they are not giving up any of their centrifuges and we are going to lessen the sanctions,” King said on Fox.
He noted that the rollback of sanctions isn’t so much about the amount — about $7 billion — as the problem of claiming that you can just put back in place that which has been repealed.
“It’s very difficult to put a sanctions program in place. Once you start to unravel it, it’s I think going to unravel very quickly. And already we see countries around the world, especially in Europe and Asia, trying to, you know, get involved in agreements with Iran. They see real potential there,” King said.
King stressed that Congress must “certainly attempt” to legislate the deal.
“I’m sure that Ed Royce, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House will have his own legislation. Basically from what I’ve seen, I think, from Senator Menendez and Senator Schumer and Senator Mark Kirk are talking is right now the way to go, and that’s to basically make sure this agreement is, you know, to the extent it can be enforce, to say that there will be severe sanctions imposed if it’s violated in any way. Any agreement, any violation of this agreement whatsoever by Iran will result in even more severe sanctions and these will be very severe,” he said. “And my concern is that without this legislation, the administration is not going to really attempt to enforce this agreement.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) vowed before the upper chamber left on recess to bring a sanctions bill to the floor at the beginning of December, but King noted that the White House pressure will come down on him hard to keep it away from a vote — which could score a veto-proof majority.
“There’s going to be tremendous pressure brought on Harry Reid and the Democrats not to go forward with it. And they may feel they have the best of all worlds. You can have a number of Democrats endorse this legislation, but never have to vote on it and never really have to defy the administration,” King said.
“I’m not questioning the motives of Senator Schumer or Senator Menendez. I’m just saying the reality is if Senator Reid doesn’t want to move, no one’s going to move him. And that’s — so he has the administration behind him. It well could be locked in. It’s still important we keep the pressure and do all we can and make it an issue. And I’m not saying a political issue, but really a national issue where the American people know what the stakes are here. And that can cause Harry Reid to back down.”
King added that the deal with Iran is “probably worse than it looks.”
“So I think this fits into his overall view of the world, that if the United States and Israel in particular would just back away a bit and let Iran move forward in peace, that we can all love each other. I think it’s a very misguided attitude. I think it’s going to be extremely damaging to the U.S. and we just can’t allow this to go on.”