Senate Dem wants to ‘strengthen’ Obama’s hand in Iran talks

Greg Nash

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said Monday that he wants Congress to look at ways to bolster the United States’s bargaining position as negotiators work to finalize a deal on Iran’s nuclear program.

{mosads}”Our hope is that the Congress and the White House can work together for a stronger America,” Cardin said during an interview on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports.” “I think we can try to find ways that we can strengthen the president’s hand, [as well as] Congress exercising its appropriate role.”

Cardin is taking over the ranking member position on the Foreign Relations Committee after Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who is battling corruption charges, temporarily stepped aside. But he said he won’t take over for the New Jersey Democrat on his Iran legislation with Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.).

“It’s their legislation,” the Maryland Democrat said. ” [But] I certainly do support a role for Congress to play.”

The Corker-Menendez bill would require Obama to submit any agreement to Congress, and block the president from rolling back sanctions for approximately two months while lawmakers debate the deal. The Foreign Relations Committee is expected to vote on the bill on April 14.

Cardin, who also didn’t offer support for Iran sanctions legislation, said any deal must have a sufficiently long “break out” time — or how long it will take Iran to build a nuclear weapon — include robust inspections and allow Western powers to effectively take action if Iran violates a deal.

“You can’t believe what Iran says, they’ve cheated before,” he said. “We must make sure that all three of those components are in that agreement.”

Cardin’s comments follow remarks from Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who told CNN on Monday that Congress “needs to say grace” over an Iran deal.

Negotiators announced last week that they had reached a framework agreement. They have until June 30 to finalize a deal. 

Tags Ben Cardin Iran
See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video