Webb skeptical of Iran deal

Webb skeptical of Iran deal
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Former Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), a 2016 presidential contender, says he is skeptical of a landmark nuclear deal with Iran.

“I have to say I have a lot of concern about this deal,” Webb said Wednesday on NPR’s “The Diane Rehm Show.”

“I’m concerned principally that this might actually increase the imbalance in the balance of power in the region, and I’m doing the best I can to read through the documents,” he said.

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The Obama administration on Tuesday announced a historic agreement with Iran that places limits on its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Lawmakers have 60 days to vote to approve or disapprove the deal.

But Webb said the White House had already bypassed Congress during the 20 months of negotiations.

“This should have been debated openly in front of Congress,” he said. “The seriousness of this agreement can’t be underestimated in terms of our long-term policies in the region.”

Webb said he is concerned the deal weighs in Iran's favor.

“They get a lot out of this,” he said. 

“They get immediate lifting of sanctions and over a period of about ten years they are going to be able to say they can move forward with a nuclear weapons policy with the acceptance of the United States and these other countries,” he continued. “We are kind of moving the cart before the horse here in terms of improving relations.

Webb also raised concerns about the effect on U.S. allies in the region.

“We have to be very careful about the signals we are sending into the region about to what level we are accepting this change of the balance of power between Israel, Saudi Arabia and Iran,” he said.

Asked by host Diane Rehm what the U.S. gained from the deal, Webb responded: “That’s what I’ve been trying to figure out."

“The idea that some of these programs will be postponed with the kind of vague guarantees of how we can conduct examinations and these sorts of things are pretty vague, so that’s where my concern is,” he said.

“I’m not so sure that we’re going to get the kind of harmonious relationship with Iran that we could have in other ways and still can in other ways.”

Two of Webb's contenders for the Democratic nomination have expressed support for the Iran deal.

Former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillicon Valley: Facebook civil rights audit finds 'serious setbacks' | Facebook takes down Roger Stone-affiliated accounts, pages | State and local officials beg Congress for more elections funds OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Sanders-Biden climate task force calls for carbon-free power by 2035 | Park Police did not record radio transmissions during June 1 sweep of White House protesters | Court upholds protections for Yellowstone grizzly bears GOP Miami mayor does not commit to voting for Trump MORE said Tuesday that the agreement "can help us prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon."

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTammy Duckworth is the epitome of the American Dream On The Money: Deficit rises to record .7 trillion amid pandemic: CBO | Democrats sidestep budget deal by seeking 0B in emergency spending | House panel advances spending bill with funding boost to IRS Biden-Sanders unity task force calls for Fed, US Postal Service consumer banking MORE (I-Vt.) also hailed it as a "victory for diplomacy."