Menendez Statement on Nuclear Agreement with Iran

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) today issued the following statement regarding the Iran nuclear agreement:

“This is an opportunity for Congress to exert its responsibility to review the agreement and I look forward to thoroughly analyzing the details when submitted because, in this case, how it is written has enormous consequences. But I’m concerned that the deal ultimately legitimizes Iran as a threshold-nuclear state. I’m concerned the redlines we drew have turned into green-lights; that Iran will be required only to limit rather than eliminate its nuclear program, while the international community will be required to lift the sanctions, and that it doesn’t provide for anytime-any-place inspections of suspected sites. The bottom line is: The deal doesn’t end Iran’s nuclear program – it preserves it.

“We began by saying the Iranians could not have the capacity for nuclear weapons; they had no right to enrich; and they needed to dismantle their illicit nuclear infrastructure. But the agreement allows them an implicit ability to continue enrichment, keep their nuclear infrastructure in place, and have a pathway to pursuing a nuclear bomb in 10 to 15 years. I’m also troubled that the agreement lifts the arms embargo in five years, which is something we should never capitulate on because it allows Iran to earn billions of dollars in newly-available oil revenues to continue to fund terrorism and further destabilize the overall situation in the Middle East.

“This is one of the most significant and solemn decisions Congress is asked to make, and I sincerely hope, after two long years of intense negotiations, we’re not giving Iran more money to pursue its hegemonic ambitions, but ultimately changing the dynamic and eliminating their ability to pursue a nuclear-weapons capacity. That was where these negotiations began and it is where they should end. We must look at the totality of the agreement and determine if, like Tom Friedman said last week, this is the best bad deal that can be achieved.”