Wall Street Journal: The White House on Sunday faced sharp criticism of the Iran nuclear deal struck last week from members of both parties who say the accord doesn’t go far enough. even some Democrats in Congress say the U.S. gave up too much.
The Wall Street Journal
By Eric Morath
The White House on Sunday faced sharp criticism of the Iran nuclear deal struck last week from members of both parties who say the accord doesn’t go far enough.
The U.S. and five other counties reached an interim deal to freeze the expansion of Iran’s nuclear program while broader negotiations take place. But even some Democrats in Congress say the U.S. gave up too much.
“I’m concerned about some elements,” Sen. Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” He’s particularly worried about a sunset clause that could allow Iran to be treated as a non-nuclear weapons state.
“That means that they could, after that period of time, enrich uranium without any consequence and without any limitations,” he said.
Mr. Menendez, chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he’s also upset that the Obama administration is pressuring Congress to not impose further sanctions on Iran during the negotiations. The senator said Congress should be allowed to act, but have any new sanctions halted by a comprehensive deal.
Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) offered even stronger doubts, calling the pact “a total victory” for Iran.
“It’s very difficult to understand that at the height of our leverage…we negotiated a deal of this nature with not a single centrifuge being dismantled,” he said on the same program. “All of them spinning in perpetuity for the next six months.”
He said the deal is likely to cause other nations in the Middle East to seek to boost their weapons arsenals and sends the wrong message to Vietnam, South Korea and other countries “that have played by the rules.”
Meanwhile, President Obama’s former national security adviser, Tom Donilon, praised the deal.
“It’s a very solid achievement,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” “It’s a very good foundation as a backdrop against which to have comprehensive negotiations.”
Mr. Donilon balked at the notion that Iran can use the six-month negotiating window to bolster its capabilities, saying the deal freezes the program in place and addresses the most contentious plutonium-producing reactor.
The deal is the top achievement so far of the Obama administration’s Iran agenda, he said. U.S. policies opened the door for the election of Iran’s President Hasan Rouhani, a more moderate leader, and ultimately the latest talks.
“There is a direct line here between the sanctions, [Mr.] Rouhani’s election, and their coming to the table.”
Mr. Donilon said. “Why? Because we put tremendous pressure on the Iranian economy. “