Sen. Robert Menendez announces opposition to Iran nuclear deal

Sen. Bob Menendez announced on Tuesday his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, the second Democratic senator to go against President Barack Obama, who is

Democrat Sen. Robert Menendez announces opposition to Iran nuclear deal

Democrat Sen. Robert Menendez announces opposition to Iran nuclear deal (8/18/15)

SOUTH ORANGE - Sen. Bob Menendez announced on Tuesday his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, the second Democratic senator to go against President Barack Obama, who is heavily lobbying for a congressional endorsement of the international accord.

Under the agreement, which the U.S. and other world powers negotiated with Tehran, Iran would curb its nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in relief from economic sanctions, which have been choking its economy.

The senator, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, joins New York Sen. Chuck Schumer in rejecting the deal.

Sen. Menendez said his opposition is not an issue of whether he supports or opposes Obama, who has pledged to veto a congressional resolution of disapproval. He said he is opposed because Iran has violated various U.N. Security Council resolutions while advancing its nuclear program and that the agreement doesn't require Iran to dismantle its nuclear infrastructure.

"Let's remind ourselves of the stated purpose of our negotiations with Iran: Simply put, it was to dismantle all -- or significant parts -- of Iran's illicit nuclear infrastructure to ensure that it would not have nuclear weapons capability at any time. Not shrink its infrastructure," Sen. Menendez said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has expressed doubts that Congress could override Obama's expected veto. Twenty-one Senate Democrats and Independents of the 34 needed to sustain a veto are backing the deal. Schumer, the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate and the party leader-in-waiting, is the only other notable Democratic defection.

In the House, at least 50 Democrats have expressed support. Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California has spoken confidently about rounding up the votes to save the deal. Ten House Democrats have announced their opposition.

Sen. Menendez urged the Obama administration to authorize the continuation of negotiations and recommended several changes, including requiring Iran to allow permanent access to suspect sites; a ban on centrifuge research and development for the duration of the agreement; an extension of the agreement to at least 20 years, and authorizing Israel to "address the Iranian threat on their own" if Iran accelerates its nuclear program.

"We must send a message to Iran that neither their regional behavior nor nuclear ambitions are permissible," he said. "If we push back regionally, they will be less likely to test the limits of our tolerance towards any violation of a nuclear agreement."

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Trending Video

Supporters of President Donald Trump held a rally 1 Rally in support of President Trump held in Middletown
2 VIDEO: Pro-President Donald Trump rally held in Middletown
News 12 New Jersey - Weather On The 3 New Jersey Weather Forecast
Fight at Willowbrook Mall prompts false reports of 4 Fight at Willowbrook Mall prompts false reports of shooting scare
Supporters of President Donald Trump gather in Wayne 5 2 pro-President Trump rallies held in New Jersey

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Features

It's good to know you have Walt Kane Kane in Your Corner

It's good to know you have Walt Kane in your corner.

News 12 takes a look at the hottest Tech Check

Eric Landskroner has a look at the latest gadgets and biggest stories in tech.

News 12 On the Scene

Check out these exclusive videos from New Jersey celebs!

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.

LOGIN SUBSCRIBE