Prominent Democratic senator rejects Iran deal

2015-08-19 20:20
Bob Menendez (AP)

Bob Menendez (AP)

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Washington - A prominent Democratic senator said on Tuesday he would oppose an agreement on Iran's nuclear programme in a fresh sign of trouble for President Barack Obama as he seeks to secure support for the deal from lawmakers.

Senator Bob Menendez said he had decided to oppose the deal because it does not go far enough to limit Iran's nuclear capabilities to prevent it from ever acquiring a nuclear weapon. He claimed the deal reached between Iran and six world powers, including the US, would merely contain or manage Iran's nuclear proliferation and does not go far enough to dismantle its nuclear infrastructure.

"At the end of the day, what we appear to have is a roll-back of sanctions and Iran only limiting its capability, but not dismantling it or rolling it back," he said in remarks at Seton Hall University in New Jersey.

Earlier this month, Senator Chuck Schumer, another prominent member of Obama's Democratic Party, voiced his opposition to the deal and many members of the opposition Republican Party also have been vocal critics.

The Obama administration has been working to convince lawmakers before they return from summer recess next month to vote to support or disapprove the deal.

Even if the Senate and House of Representatives, which have opposition Republican majorities, both pass resolutions of disapproval, Obama can veto the measures.

US consent to last month's deal would only be scuttled if both chambers can mount two-thirds supermajorities to override a veto, which would require significant numbers of Obama's own Democratic legislators.

Obama maintains the deal is the best way to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, but critics, including some in his left-leaning Democratic Party, say the controls do not go far enough and would allow Tehran to acquire a weapon once key provisions expire.

State Department spokesperson John Kirby said on Tuesday that the administration is still confident it can gain the support of most lawmakers.

Read more on:    us  |  iran  |  iran nuclear programme

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