Gen. Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in congressional testimony Wednesday that he advised the White House against lifting restrictions on Iran buying arms and ballistic missiles as part of the nuclear deal, but was overruled, Foreign Policy reported.
Asked directly by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) if he voiced opposition on that part of the pact, Dempsey said: “Yes … and I used the phrase ‘as long as possible,’ and then that was the point at which the negotiation continued.”
“But, yes, that was my military advice,” Dempsey, who is retiring in September, told the Senate Armed Services Committee. The hearing was the administration’s latest attempt to sell Congress on the historic deal, which limits Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for easing harsh economic sanctions against the country.
In the exchange, embedded below, Ayotte referred to an exchange she had with Dempsey while the negotiations were ongoing and in which he had expressed his opposition to those concessions.
The lifting of the arms embargoes against Iran was a controversial concession made in the final hours of the nuclear negotiations. The report that the administration was prepared to lift these embargoes prompted concern from a number of Democratic Senators, including Michael Bennet (D – Colo.), Robert Casey (D – Penn.), Chris Coons (D – Del.), and Richard Blumenthal (D – Conn.).
[Photo: SenatorAyotte / YouTube ]