“What I think you’ve actually done in these negotiations is codify a perfectly aligned pathway for Iran to get a nuclear weapon just by abiding by this agreement“, Corker said.
“I believe you’ve been fleeced”, Corker told Secretary of State John Kerry at the start of a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “It isn’t a quote better deal, some sort of unicorn arrangement involving Iran’s complete capitulation.” he said.
Rebutting that criticism, Rouhani said the agreement not only retained Iran’s nuclear energy autonomy, but also removed the sanctions, which was what the Iranian people wanted when they voted in the last election.
Iran’s foreign minister and lead nuclear negotiator Mohammad Javad Zarif told Iran’s Majlis, or parliament, that according the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) Iran is permitted to deny worldwide nuclear inspectors access to military sites, “raising new questions about Tehran’s commitment to the terms of the agreement”, The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday.
“I believe you’ve been fleeced”, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and the panel’s chairman, spoke scornfully of the administration’s claim that the only alternative to the deal that was reached was a war with Iran.
‘With all due respect, you guys have been bamboozled and the American people are going to pay for that, ‘ echoed fellow Republican senator James Risch. Not so parenthetically, the deal will also enable Iran to eventually acquire ballistic missiles capable of reaching our shores.
He said the deal “crossed a new threshold in U.S. foreign policy” by allowing a hostile state, for the first time, to retain a program aimed at developing nuclear weapons.
The 4-1/2-hour-long hearing was part of an intense Obama administration push to convince Democrats in particular to back the deal.
Under the deal, he said, Iran will remove 98 percent of its enriched uranium stockpile, dismantle two-thirds of its centrifuges and replace the core of the Arak reactor with one that can not produce bomb-grade plutonium.
“The choice we face is between a deal that will ensure Iran’s nuclear program is limited, rigorously scrutinized, and wholly peaceful or no deal at all”.
Kerry was welcomed to the committee chamber by about a half-dozen Code Pink anti-nuclear activists sporting bright pink “Peace with Iran” T-shirts.
“This is a deal whose survival is not guaranteed beyond the current term of the president”, Rubio said. But the mood turned critical immediately as Sen.
Later in the week, Kerry will travel to the Middle East to reassure Gulf Arab officials meeting in Qatar that the US will work with them to “push back” against Iranian influence in the region.
Could US Congress torpedo the deal?
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said the agreement would not prevent the US from imposing additional sanctions on Iran over issues such as human rights violations, a Congressional concern, if it felt this was necessary.