In a closed door meeting with the Senate Banking Committee Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry , Vice President Joe Biden, and officials from the State and Treasury departments provided a briefing on the talks to halt the Iranian nuclear program and to urge the committee to back away from any discussion of new sanctions. Kerry’s discussion was almost as successful as the Obamacare roll out.
After the meeting, Senate Republicans held a press conference to strongly reject the plea for a delay in a new round of economic sanctions against Iran and promised to move forward with additional restrictions over the country’s nuclear weapons program.
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Il) angrily compared the administration’s appeal to Neville Chamberlain’s “appeasement” of Nazi Germany before World War II. “I do think we ought to accelerate sanctions,” said Kirk. The pitch was very unconvincing. It was fairly anti-Israeli.”
Kirk continued, “I was supposed to disbelieve everything the Israelis had just told me, and I think the Israelis probably have a pretty good intelligence service.” He said the Israelis had told him that the “total changes proposed set back the program by 24 days.”
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A Senate aide told BuzzFeed that during the meeting, “every time anybody would say anything about ‘what would the Israelis say,’ they’d get cut off and Kerry would say, ‘You have to ignore what they’re telling you, stop listening to the Israelis on this.’” “They had no details,” the aide said. “They had no ability to verify anything, to describe anything, to answer basic questions.”
“It was an emotional appeal, and I have to tell you that I was very disappointed in the presentation. It lacked content,” complained Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), a Banking panel member who is also the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee. “I was stunned that in a classified setting, when you’re trying to talk with the very folks that would be originating legislation relative to sanctions, there would be such a lack of specificity.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters he believes “we ought to be actually ratcheting up the sanctions against Iran. It’s pretty obvious that what the administration is promoting is something the Israelis think is a bad deal for them. It’s pretty clear the Sunni Arab allies of ours also think its a bad deal. Looking at it strictly from an American point of view, I think it’s a bad deal as well. So I’d be surprised if we do not have a debate on enhanced Iran sanctions.”
Senate Democrats were did not comment after the meeting.
Earlier this week, the liberal Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, reported the administration deliberately lied to Israel about the terms of the agreement being negotiated with Iran.
Israeli officials said the U.S. misrepresented the concessions offered to
Iran and that the current direction of talks would undermine sanctions
while allowing Iran to proceed with nuclear development.They were going
to keep it all a secret until it was signed and Israel could do nothing