The day after Secretary of State John Kerry tried to convince the House Foreign Affairs Committee to back the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran, a Democrat on the panel said she wouldn’t be voting for the accord.
“I strongly believe the world could and should have a better deal than that set forth in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which I will therefore oppose,” said Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), a second-term congresswoman from Queens.
“While I will continue to study the finer points of the deal, they will not be dispositive for me. I believe the inspections procedures set forth are flawed – leading nuclear experts assert that, pursuant to these procedures, inspectors would not necessarily know whether Iran is manufacturing uranium components for a nuclear weapon. This is unacceptable,” she said in a statement.
“Furthermore, I am deeply concerned that almost all of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure would remain intact; this leads me to believe Iran would simply resume its pursuit of a nuclear weapon at the conclusion of the deal in a decade’s time. Finally, the immediate sanctions relief provided Iran in the deal would incentivize the funding of terrorism and lessen Iran’s interest in restraining its nuclear ambitions over the long term.”
Meng commended President Obama and Kerry “for their efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, but the deal before us now is simply too dangerous for the American people.”
“I have every confidence a better deal can be realized,” she added.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Meng asked Kerry why he believes Russia and China would “be there with us in any sort of snap-back scenario” with sanctions when Iran violates the deal.
“I think that Iran — that Russia and China are very, very serious about the nonproliferation component of this, as serious as we are,” Kerry replied. “Russia has agreed to export the spent fuel and process it in Russia in order to help make this work. China has accepted major responsibility to be the lead entity with our co-chairmanship on a committee that will work to redesign the Iraq reactor in a way that is acceptable to all of us. And they’ve taken on major responsibilities. So China has — they both have a huge interest in the nonproliferation piece of this, but they both believe that the other components of the resolution with respect to the arms and missiles was thrown in as an add-on, as punishment, in effect, not because it referred directly to the nuclear part of this — of the resolution or agreement.”