The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has determined that Congress should reject the Iran nuclear deal “and send it back to the president.”
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) announced his “no” vote yesterday in a Washington Post op-ed, the same day that the former Democratic chairman of the committee, Sen. Bob Menendez (N.J.), gave a long, scathing rebuke of the deal at Seton Hall.
“Rather than end Iran’s nuclear enrichment program, over time this deal industrializes the program of the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism,” Corker wrote.
“For a deal that must be built on verification and not trust, the inspections process is deeply flawed. Through verbal presentations regarding possible military dimensions, many in Congress are aware of the unorthodox arrangements agreed to by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the administration and our negotiating partners to keep from upsetting Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Those actual agreements remain secret, but we know that at best they are most unusual and speak to the P5+1’s low commitment to holding Iran’s feet to the fire.”
The chairman added that “absent a clearly articulated policy for the region, this deal will become the linchpin of the United States’ Middle East strategy.”
“This abrupt rebalancing could have the effect of driving others in the region to take greater risks, leading to greater instability. Iran was fully aware of this, which helped the regime continually erode the deal to its benefit, and it will become an impediment when we try to push back against potential violations of the agreement,” Corker wrote. “Iran, on the other hand, does have a regional strategy that this deal will boost and strengthen.”
The time is ticking, he warned, as “under this deal that leverage will flip in approximately nine months, when most major sanctions are relieved.”
“The idea that a future president will somehow have the same options available as today, when Iran is poor and isolated, is fanciful,” Corker said.
He stressed that he :came to these negotiations with an open mind,” but witnessed “a very disappointing outcome for our country.”
“Throughout history, Congress has rejected or altered hundreds of international agreements, many of them multilateral. For the administration to say there is no other deal than this one is an effort to negate Congress’s important role and responsibility.”