Rubio: Senate should challenge Obama's SOTU veto threat on Iran

Lauren Schneiderman

The Senate should move forward with Iran sanctions, despite President Obama's stated intention to veto them, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said Wednesday.

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“If a sanctions bill made it to the floor, it would pass,” Rubio told reporters at a breakfast hosted by The Wall Street Journal. “I believe it would pass with a veto-proof majority.

“The reason why, is that members on both sides of the aisle believe that the Iranians are using this process to try to alleviate the pain of the sanctions without changing their behavior.”

A bipartisan Senate bill has garnered 59 co-sponsors, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is holding it up.

The White House argues that passing sanctions now, even ones that would only kick in if Iran won't sign a final deal that's acceptable to Congress, would derail diplomatic talks. Obama hammered that message home in his State of the Union Tuesday night.

“The sanctions that we put in place helped make this opportunity possible,” the president told lawmakers. “But let me be clear: If this Congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks, I will veto it. For the sake of our national security, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed.”

Rubio, a potential 2016 candidate, called Iran's nuclear talks a “ruse” aimed at gaining time to build a bomb. 

“The bottom line is that nothing Iran has agreed to as part of this negotiation that will prevent them from becoming a nuclear power,” he said.

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