Dem: Obama 'fear-mongering' on Iran

Greg Nash

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, accused the White House late Wednesday of “fearmongering” tactics to prevent the U.S. from laying additional sanctions on Iran after the two countries reached an interim deal on Tehran's nuclear program.

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Menendez, speaking on NPR's “All Things Considered,” remarked that “what I don't appreciate is when I hear remarks out of the White House spokesman that ... if we're pursuing sanctions, we're marching the country off to war. I think that's way over the top. I think it's fear-mongering.”

Prior to the agreement's announcement, a bill imposing additional sanctions on Iran had been under consideration in the Senate.

Menendez said he would support passing additional sanctions, set to take effect six months from now, if Iran ever flags in its recent cooperation with the U.S.

Menendez has joined with many Republicans in criticizing the interim agreement with Iran, which swaps a curtailment of Iran's nuclear program for partial relief from the crippling economic sanctions that have been laid on the Middle Eastern state. Menendez criticized the deal for not including the dismantling of Iran's nuclear infrastructure, such as its centrifuges for enriching uranium.

“If I could liken it to a metaphor, we basically have the Iranians running in place, but they're running,” Menendez said.

Nevertheless, Menendez refused to say he was disappointed with the State Department for its diplomatic efforts, and said he was hopeful that the deal would be successful despite the shortcomings he perceived.