Greg Nash
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Tuesday that she’ll oppose the Iran nuclear deal, calling the agreement “fundamentally flawed.”
 
“I shall cast my vote for the motion of disapproval. I believe that Iran… will bide its time, perfect its R&D on advanced centrifuges, secure an ICBM capability, and build a nuclear weapon as the JCPOA is phased out,” she said from the Senate floor, referring to the agreement. “It is time for Congress to reject the JCPOA and for the administration to negotiate a new agreement.”
 
{mosads}Collins was considered the one Senate Republican the Obama administration could potentially convince to support the agreement, after Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said last month that he would vote against the deal. 
 
She voiced skepticism Tuesday that Iran wouldn’t use money it will get from sanctions relief to fund terrorist groups. She also said it is “deeply troubling” that restrictions to Iran’s support of terrorism weren’t included as part of the deal, even though the White House has said talks were focused on Iran’s nuclear program.
 
She added that the lifting of an embargo on selling ballistic missiles, included as part of the deal, also threatens the United States. 
 
“[Iran] already has the deeply troubling capability to launch missile strikes at Israel, which it has pledged to wipe off the face of the Earth. ICBM technology poses a direct threat to our nation from a nation whose leaders continue to chant ‘Death to America!'” she said. “Why would we ever agree to lifting the embargo on sales of conventional weapons that could endanger our forces in the region?”
 
Collins said that if Congress were to reject the agreement, the administration would have two options: try to get a better deal and bolster sanctions against Iran. 
 
“Despite these options, the administration negotiated a pact in which its red lines were abandoned, compromised, or diluted, while the Iranians held firm to their core principles,” she added.
 
But the administration, as well as key Democrats who have backed the deal, have rejected the potential for a better deal, saying that other countries would not agree to come back to the table. 
 
The Maine Republican — who was one of seven Senate Republicans who didn’t sign a letter earlier this year suggesting that the next president could undo the Iran deal — touted her support for the negotiations. 
 
“I have long believed that a verifiable diplomatic agreement with Iran that dismantled its nuclear infrastructure and blocked its pathways to the development of a nuclear weapon would be a major achievement, an accomplishment that would make the world far safer,” she said. “Regrettably, that does not describe the agreement that the Administration negotiated.”
 
But Collins’ announcement, while a setback to a push to be able to label the deal as bipartisan, won’t block the Iran nuclear agreement from going into effect. 
 
Forty-one senators are supporting the Iran deal. If each senator also votes “no” on a cloture vote, the resolution would be blocked from initially passing the Senate.
If not, Obama will have to issue a veto, something he’s only done four times during his time in office. Only 34 senators are needed to uphold the veto.
Tags Jeff Flake Susan Collins

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