U.S. Senator Jerry Moran says he will work hard against Senate approval of the nuclear agreement negotiated with Iran - and other senators are finding that answers to their questions about the deal aren't particularly confidence-building.
Secretary of State John Kerry has been testifying before Senate and House committees trying to sell lawmakers on the proposed Iranian nuclear deal. A 60-day congressional review period is now under way. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) has voiced his opposition to the deal.
"I'm convinced more than ever the nuclear agreement negotiated by the Obama administration is damaging to our country's national security and it increases the risk to our allies and friends in the Middle East," he says. "Iran is the number-one financer of terrorist activities and this agreement gives them more money to pursue their stated goal of 'Death to America.'"
The GOP lawmaker points out that Congress put sanctions in place to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.
"Instead, this agreement lifts sanctions now for the hope that Iran does not acquire those nuclear weapons," he notes. "The inspections allowed by this agreement are way too limited. The agreement concedes too much and secures too little. Additionally, this agreement does not require the release of Americans now held captive by Iran."
Moran says he'll "work hard" in hopes that the Senate rejects what he believes is a terrible agreement. Most Republicans have expressed opposition to it.
'Tepid endorsement' doesn't inspire confidence
Moran isn't the only senator who has reservations about the Iran deal. During an Armed Services Committee hearing, members questioned Obama administration officials about the Iranian deal brokered by Kerry. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) expressed his concerns about a comment made by Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Martin Dempsey during his testimony.
"Ultimately time and Iranian behavior will determine if the nuclear agreement is effective and sustainable," Wicker noted. "That, sir, does not give me a confidence level – and I just have to tell you that based upon your very brief and, I think, tepid endorsement of this agreement."
The Mississippi Republican pointed out there is strong opposition to the deal in the Middle East. "It is striking that from right to left, every ideology within the county of Israel is opposed to this agreement," he said. "It's striking that the Arab neighbors, the Saudis and others, are alarmed at this deal."
Wicker says assessment of the facts and the effects that this agreement will have on America's allies in the region should be instructive to Congress.
Dangerous to agree to secrets
Meanwhile, a conservative activist finds it's telling that high-level officials in the administration are unable to divulge the details of secret side agreements related to the Iranian nuclear deal.
During testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) confronted Secretary of State John Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz over the secret side agreements in the Iranian nuclear deal.
Cotton: Secretary Kerry, have you read either of these two side deals between the [International Atomic Energy Agency] and Iran?
Kerry: No, I haven't read them.
Cotton: Have you read any previous drafts?
Kerry: No, I haven't ... I believe one person may have ... but I don't know for sure.
Cotton: Secretary Moniz, have you read the text of these agreements?
Moniz: No, sir – I've not seen them.
Cotton: Have you read any prior version?
Moniz: No, sir.
Cotton: Has anyone on your team at the Department of Energy?
Moniz: I'm not sure ...
Cotton: Secretary Kerry, has anyone else in the U.S. government reviewed the text of these agreements?
Kerry: Not that I'm aware of.
Gary Bauer of the Campaign for Working Families says these exchanges should alarm the American people, including every member of Congress.
"If [these secret deals] were deals that were tough on Iran, there would be no reason for either the United Nations to keep them secret or Secretary Kerry to not try to find out what's in them," he tells OneNewsNow.
Bauer says knowing that neither Secretary Kerry nor apparently anyone else in the Obama administration has apparently read the entire agreement, how on earth can any member of Congress possibly vote for it?