Sen. Blumenthal on Iran Deal: 'There May Have Been a Better Deal if We had Different People Doing it'

Craig Millward | August 17, 2015 | 6:45pm EDT
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Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)   (AP) 


( -- During a meeting with constituents in Cornwall, Conn., last week, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said there were "weaknesses" with the Iran nuclear agreement and added that, "there may have been a better deal if we'd had different people doing it."

While speaking at an event hosted by the Democratic Coalition of Northwest Connecticut, Blumenthal said, "I have not made a decision about whether I will vote to reject the agreement or not. And I think that there are weaknesses in this agreement. The president has said, he's right, no agreement is perfect. The Secretary of State has said, negotiations always involve compromise.”

“That's true,” said Blumenthal.  “The question is whether those weaknesses justify voting against the agreement. And the key question is what will happen if Congress rejects, what are the alternatives?”

“What will happen as a practical matter because the question is not whether we would have -- you or I -- negotiated a better deal,” said Blumenthal.

 “There may have been a better deal,” he continued,  “if we had different people doing it. But the question is what happens if this agreement is rejected?"

Blumenthal further said,  "And I have two overriding objectives. One is, I think a nuclear-armed Iran is a threat to this country. A great threat.”

“And the president, all the administration officials and the opponents all agree on that fact and the other objective is to avoid military conflict and certainly any military conflict that involves our American troops on the ground,” said the senator.

Blumenthal described military options as "complicated and challenging and potentially very costly."

"So the question is sanctions? Increased sanctions?” he said.  “Will our partners come back to join sanctions? Can we impose unilateral sanctions that would bring Iran back to the table and secure a better deal? These are pretty great uncertainities.”

Blumenthal also questioned what would happen if Iran violated the agreement.

"There are risks on the other side as well, as to if Iran violates the deal and how reliable is the process that would detect and prove violations and then what happens in remedy? Would it be all or nothing? In other words,” said Blumenthal, “Do all of the sanctions have to be reengaged? Would that actually happen in case of a violation? These uncertainities are troubling as well.”

Among those leading the United States in the Iran nuclear negotiations were Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, and Wendy Sherman, the Under-Secretary for Political Affairs for the State Department.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)   (AP) 


As CNSNews has previously reported, several Democrats plan to vote against the Iran nuclear deal, including Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.). 

"To me, the very real risk that Iran will not moderate and will, instead, use the agreement to pursue its nefarious goals is too great," Schumer said.

"Therefore, I will vote to disapprove the agreement, not because I believe war is a viable or desirable option, nor to challenge the path of diplomacy,” he said.  “It is because I believe Iran will not change, and under this agreement it will be able to achieve its dual goals of eliminating sanctions while ultimately retaining its nuclear and non-nuclear power."

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), a supporter of the deal, said hoping for a better deal would be "fantasy thinking."

"We all agree, everyone agrees that Iran should not have a nuclear weapon. So the question is how do we achieve that. And of course if we can achieve that without the use of military force, or just do nothing and hope for a better deal, which I think is fantasy thinking, I'm for it," Schakowsky said on "The Bill Press Show" last week.

President Obama said last month that he will veto any legislation blocking the Iran nuclear deal.

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