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Key Democrat Calls White House Argument on Iran Deal “Preposterous”

Rep. Brad Sherman (D – Calif.), a leading member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called the Obama administration’s plan to ensure the nuclear deal currently being negotiated with Iran would prevent the Islamic Republic from developing a nuclear weapon “preposterous,” The Hill reported yesterday.

The exchange with Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken took place at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing yesterday.

Blinken argued Iran would not manufacture nuclear arms if it were bound by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Obama administration hopes Iran will slow or stop its quest for nuclear weapons in exchange for reducing sanctions.

“The bottom line is that even after certain obligations are completed by Iran, it cannot become a nuclear weapons state,” Blinken said. “It will be legally bound under the Non-Proliferation Treaty not to make or acquire a nuclear weapon.”

“I fear that you have misled this committee in telling us that, once Iran has the rights of a non-nuclear state, subject to the additional protocol, that you’ll be able to stop sneak-out, because you’ve said first that, well, they can’t develop a nuclear weapon as that would be illegal,” Sherman said. “That’s a preposterous argument.”

Blinken retorted, “If Iran makes an agreement, it will make it with the full knowledge that if it violates the agreement, there will be severe consequences.”

United Nations sanctions were imposed on Iran though six U.N. Security Council resolutions after Iran’s failure to adhere to its obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). The terms of a leaked draft of a deal would leave intact Iran’s nuclear infrastructure intact, in violation of its NPT obligations.

At the committee hearing yesterday, Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D – N.Y.) discussed a bipartisan letter Congress was sending to the administration urging a Congressional role in shaping a nuclear deal with Iran.

[Photo: Brad Sherman / YouTube ]