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October 7, 2015 / 24 Tishri, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘Bob Menendez’

Menendez Dismembers Iran Deal, Suggests More Robust Deal

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) doubled down on his position that the Nuclear Iran deal negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry and his American team of negotiators, along with the U.S. partners in the P5+1, is a bad one that should not go into effect.

Menendez did that by holding a highly-publicized address at 1:00 p.m. E.T., on Thursday, Aug. 18, from the Seton Hall School of Diplomacy and International Relations in South Orange, New Jersey.

During this address, Menendez meticulously explained why he will not vote for the Agreement and why he will vote to override the President’s veto.

When he completed his analysis, it was hard to understand how anyone could say the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is something any country except Iran would support.


The over-arching question, as Menendez put it, is why Iran, which has one of the world’s largest reserves of oil reserves, needs nuclear power for domestic energy. Given this vast reserve, there is no peaceful use of nuclear energy at all, and therefore no legitimate reason for Iran to have any right to enrichment.

Given Iran’s lack of a peaceful need for nuclear energy coupled with that nation’s repeated acts of “deceit, deception and delay” to evade United Nations Security Council Resolutions and thereby approach being a nuclear weapon state, it is indeed hard to make the argument for this Agreement.

Menendez spoke for nearly a full hour. He explained why Iran does not need nuclear energy and he reminded his audience of Iran’s repeated evasions of inspections.


The New Jersey Senator also described the many ways in which the JCPOA falls far short of so many absolute red lines and guarantees made by the U.S. administration during the course of the negotiations.

♦  The original goal was to “fully dismantle Iran’s nuclear weapons capability,” a “roll-back your infrastructure and we’ll roll-back our sanctions.”

Instead, Menendez explained, the JCPOA is the equivalent of “an alarm bell should they decide to violate their commitments, and a system for inspections to verify their compliance.”

♦ When Menendez asked Secretary of State Kerry about dismantling Arak, Iran’s plutonium reactor, Kerry said: “They will either dismantle it or we will destroy it.”

Arak will not be dismantled, merely “redesigned.”

♦ The original position was that Iran’s underground Fordow facility would be closed because a peaceful civilian nuclear program would not need to be underground.

Fordow will not be dismantled, merely “repurposed.”

♦ Iran was supposed to “come absolutely clean about their weaponization activities at Parchin and agree to promise anytime anywhere inspections.”

Iran will not be required to disclose the possible military dimensions of their nuclear program at Parchin.

Menendez said that over the course of the negotiations, the original goal of preventing nuclear proliferation instead become merely one of “managing or containing” nuclear proliferation.

Just as alarming is that during the course of the deal under its current terms, Iran is allowed to continue its research and development. By the end of the term of the Agreement, Iran will be in a better position – meaning further along on its path to nuclear weapons capability – than it was before the deal was adopted.

“The deal enshrines for Iran, and in fact commits the international community to assisting Iran in developing an industrial-scale nuclear power program, complete with industrial scale enrichment,” Menendez explained.

In addition, the terms of the JCPOA ensure that the EU and the U.S. will not reintroduce or reimpose the sanctions lifted under this deal. That’s because, if sanctions are reintroduced or reimposed, that will “relieve Iran from its commitments in part or in whole.” There will be no incentive for any party to this agreement to find any violations, as that would erase any progress that was made.

Full Text of Speech on Nuclear Iran Deal Given by Sen. Menendez

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Remarks Prepared for Delivery:

“For twenty three years as a member of the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations Committees, I have had the privilege of dealing with major foreign policy and national security issues. Many of those have been of a momentous nature. This is one of those moments.

“I come to the issue of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, with Iran, as someone who has followed Iran’s nuclear ambition for the better part of two decades. I decide on whether to support or oppose an issue on the basis of whether, it is in my judgment, in the national interest and security of our country to do so.

“In this case a secondary, but important, question is what it means for our great ally — the State of Israel — and our other partners in the Gulf.

“Unlike President Obama’s characterization of those who have raised serious questions about the agreement, or who have opposed it, I did not vote for the war in Iraq, I opposed it, unlike the Vice President and the Secretary of State, who both supported it. My vote against the Iraq war was unpopular at the time, but it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

“I also don’t come to this question as someone, unlike many of my Republican colleagues, who reflexively oppose everything the President proposes. In fact, I have supported President Obama, according to Congressional Quarterly, 98 percent of the time in 2013 and 2014. On key policies ranging from voting in the Finance Committee and on the Senate Floor for the Affordable Care Act, to Wall Street Reform, to supporting the President’s Supreme Court Nominees and defending the Administration’s actions on the Benghazi tragedy, his Pivot to Asia, shepherding the authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) to stop President Assad’s use of chemical weapons, during the time I was Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to so much more, I have been a reliable supporter of President Obama.

“But my support is not – and has not been driven by party loyalty, but rather by principled agreement, not political expediency. When I have disagreed it is also based on principled disagreement.

“The issue before the Congress in September is whether to vote to approve or disapprove the agreement struck by the President and our P5+1 partners with Iran. This is one of the most serious national security, nuclear nonproliferation, arms control issues of our time. It is not an issue of supporting or opposing the President. This issue is much greater and graver than that.

“For me, I have come to my decision after countless hours in hearings, classified briefings, and hours-and-hours of serious discussion and thorough analysis. I start my analysis with the question: Why does Iran — which has the world’s fourth largest proven oil reserves, with 157 billion barrels of crude oil and the world’s second largest proven natural gas reserves with 1,193 trillion cubic feet of natural gas — need nuclear power for domestic energy?

“We know that despite the fact that Iran claims their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, they have violated the international will, as expressed by various U.N. Security Council Resolutions, and by deceit, deception and delay advanced their program to the point of being a threshold nuclear state. It is because of these facts, and the fact that the world believes that Iran was weaponizing its nuclear program at the Parchin Military Base — as well as developing a covert uranium enrichment facility in Fordow, built deep inside of a mountain, raising serious doubts about the peaceful nature of their civilian program, and their sponsorship of state terrorism — that the world united against Iran’s nuclear program.

Will Iran Self-Inspect? And Will the US Defend Iran from Israel?

Friday, July 24th, 2015

At the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Senator James Risch (R-Idaho) and Senator Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) asked US Secretary of State John Kerry if Iran would be responsible for obtaining and providing the soil inspection samples to the inspectors (such as from Parchin), as opposed to the inspectors acquiring the samples on their own.

Kerry refused to answer, claiming the inspection agreement between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is classified.

The chain of custody issue is yet another secret side deal that is coming to light ahead of the Congressional vote on Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

Senator Marco Rubio raised the question posed by JewishPress.com regarding the section in the nuclear deal that says the US and the European countries will prepare Iran to defend itself from attacks and sabotage, the subtext being that the US will help Iran prepare to defend itself from an Israeli attack.

Kerry’s responded that the US did not promise to help defend Iran from any Israeli attack, and added that the US will be “fully coordinated with Israel.”

The article in the Iran nuclear deal does not say the US will help defend Iran, but rather the US may help Iran prepare to defend itself from attacks.

Co-operation in the form of training courses and workshops to strengthen Iran’s ability to prevent, protect and respond to nuclear security threats to nuclear facilities and systems as well as to enable effective and sustainable nuclear security and physical protection systems;

Co-operation through training and workshops to strengthen Iran’s ability to protect against, and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage, as well as to enable effective and sustainable nuclear security and physical protection systems.

Biggest Democratic Foe of Obama on Iran Indicted

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) was indicted on Wednesday, April 1. The 61-year old senator has been in public life for more than 40 years.

Menendez was indicted on corruption charges which accuse the senator of actions taken on behalf of a wealthy campaign donor in exchange for expensive vacations and gifts.

The indictment charges Menendez with conspiracy with his friend and donor, Dr. Salomon Melgen, eight counts of bribery and other charges, including making false statements.

The indictment states that Menendez made overtures to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which claimed Melgen overbilled the government by nearly $9 million. It also claims that Menendez intervened two other times by making inquiries on behalf of Melgen and his friends.

In exchange for taking these actions on behalf of Melgen, Menendez allegedly accepted, among other things, free flights on Melgen’s private jet and vacations at Melgen’s resort home in the Dominican Republic, as well as campaign contributions and contributions to the senator’s legal defense fund.

Menendez said the charges against him are “outrageous.” He claimed that all the claims against him were trumped up by political enemies.

“I’m confident that at the end of the day, I will be vindicated, and they will be exposed,” Menendez said.

However, the senator will step down from his position as ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. It is from that seat that the New Jersey senator has proven to be particularly irksome to this administration, as Menendez has pushed hard for increased sanctions against Iran throughout the current negotiations regarding Iran’s nuclear power program.

Most congressional Democrats have been in lock-step with U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, but Senator Menendez has pushed back hard against the administration’s insistence on pursuing an agreement with a wily adversary few believe will ever follow the terms of any deal.

Menendez also opposed Obama’s decision to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba. The senator is Cuban American.

Obama Urges Resistance to ‘Donors’ (i.e. Jews) Pushing for Iran Sanctions

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

“Neocon” used to be the code word for Jews, now it appears to be “donors,” at least when used by certain politicians, including U.S. President Barack Obama.

Obama attended the Democratic Senate retreat Senate Democratic Issues in Baltimore, Maryland on Friday, Jan. 16.

During a discussion about Iran sanctions, the president urged senators to resist imposing additional sanctions against Iran. He vowed to veto legislation being drafted by Mr. Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, and Senator Mark Kirk, Republican of Illinois, that would trigger sanctions after multiparty talks are set to end this summer.

Obama said pushing for sanctions would undermine his authority and might derail negotiations with the Iranians. Mr. Obama also said if the U.S. were to enact increased actions it could lead international observers to blame the Americans, rather than the Iranians, if the talks collapsed before the June 30 deadline.

But then the president made what was interpreted as a veiled reference to Jews, which triggered a heated exchange in the otherwise courteous debate.

He said, according to the New York Times, that “he understood the pressures that senators face from donors and others.”

As Matt Brooks, the president of the Republican Jewish Coalition pointedly erupted: “What exactly was President Obama suggestion when he said opposition to his Iran policy is due to ‘donors’? No one would say opposition to his Russia policy is due to ‘donors,’ or his Cuba policy is due to ‘donors,’ or his general foreign policy is due to ‘donors.’ So why did President Obama single out those who seek tougher sanctions on Iran and ay their viewpoints are based on ‘donors’?

It was reported that one Senator in particular, Robert Menendez (NJ), rose to his feet and announced he took “personal offense” to Obama’s statement.

“The threat Iran poses to Israel and the western world is a national security issue. Attributing opposition to his Iran policy to the views of ‘donors’ is an inappropriate statement and it underplays the serious threat that Iran represents,” the RJC’s Brooks pointed out.

Harriet Sherwood Completely Mischaracterizes Iran Sanctions Bill

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

A March 2nd Guardian report by Harriet Sherwood and Dan Roberts (Binyamin Netanyahu visit will test strains in US-Israel relationship) included the following claim regarding efforts in the US Senate to pass a new Iran sanctions bill:

…the failure of an Aipac-supported effort to pass legislation blocking Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran has led to a reassessment of the fabled ability of its lobbyists to wield a veto over US policy when it comes to matters of Israeli security.

This is a complete mischaracterization of a bill (S.1881 – Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013) which, by all accounts, is designed to put more pressure on Iran so that they’ll comply with any nuclear agreement that is reached with the six world powers.

The bill (sponsored by Senator Robert Menendez, along with 58 co-sponsors) has been accurately described by multiple media sources:

Washington Post

The measure introduced Thursday, if approved, would impose harsh new sanctions on Iran’s petroleum industry while also threatening U.S. allies and partners with financial restrictions unless they sharply curtail trade with Iran. The sanctions would go into effect if Iran violated the terms of the temporary accord reached last month or if it failed to reach a permanent agreement with world powers in a timely manner.

New York Times

A bipartisan group of senators, defying the White House, introduced a bill on Thursday to impose new sanctions on Iran if it failed to conclude a nuclear agreement, or stick to the terms of its interim deal, with the United States and other major powers.

The bill would seek to drive Iran’s oil exports down to zero and penalize its engineering, mining and construction industries. But the sanctions would not take effect before the six-month term of the interim deal expires, and they could be deferred for up to another six months, at Mr. Obama’s request, if the talks looked promising.

ABC News:

A bipartisan group of 26 senators introduced new legislation today proposing potential sanctions against Iran if the country fails to uphold the P5+1 agreement made last month or if it fails to reach a final agreement to terminate its nuclear weapons program.

The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act, co-sponsored by Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., which calls for additional reductions in purchases of Iranian petroleum and creates more penalties for parts of the Iranian economy, including engineering, mining and construction.

The bill also provides the administration with up to one year from implementation of the agreement to try to reach a diplomatic solution that would completely end Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Business Insider

The legislation proposes sanctions in the event that Iran breaches the terms of the interim agreement reached last month in Geneva — or if world powers fail to come to a comprehensive agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear energy program.


The sanctions legislation would impose conditional economic penalties on Iran if the country fails to follow through on an interim deal or pulls out of ongoing global negotiations to permanently curtail its nuclear ambitions in return for some sanctions relief.


Bipartisan legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate on Thursday that would authorize new economic sanctions on Iran if it breaches an interim agreement to limit its nuclear program or fails to strike a final accord terminating those ambitions.

Clearly, the bill would increase sanctions against Iran only in the event negotiations with the six world powers (P5+1) fail to produce an agreement, or if Iran fails to abide by an agreement.  So, the claim made by Sherwood and Roberts that the bill would “block Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran” is untrue.

Despite Veto Threat and Heavy Pressure, Schumer Supports Sanctions Bill

Friday, December 20th, 2013

The Democratic senior senator from New York, Chuck Schumer, remains on track with the new bi-partisan Iran sanctions bill despite intense lobbying by the White House and the threat of a presidential veto.

The new sanctions bill is called the “Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act.”  It  is co-sponsored by Schumer, New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez and Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, and was introduced on Thursday, Dec. 19.

Under this bill, new sanctions would not be imposed until after the six-month negotiations window between the U.S. and Iran passes, or if Iran breaches the interim deal.

But Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif told Time magazine earlier this month that any new sanctions, even ones that take effect after the interim agreement expires, would kill any chance of a more comprehensive deal.

At Thursday’s press briefing, the president’s spokesperson Jay Carney said he saw no need for this sanctions bill and assured everyone that if it becomes law the president will veto it.

“We made it very clear to the Senate that it is not the time for new Iran sanctions. We don’t think it will be or should be enacted,” Carney told reporters.

Schumer said he discussed the sanctions issue with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough Thursday, according to BuzzFeed. The New York senior senator downplayed the idea of bad feelings over the matter between the White House and him, saying he supports the idea of negotiating an interim agreement with Iran, “but I don’t think the reduction of sanctions made much sense.”

“Basically, it’s a judgement call. We have a disagreement with them,” Schumer said. “Many of us believe that by ratcheting up sanctions, not by reducing sanctions, is the best way to produce peace and get Iran to forego a nuclear weapon.”

The bill has 26 co-sponsors. Co-sponsors from the Democratic party include senators Ben Cardin (Md), Bob Casey (PA), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Mark Warner (Va.) and Mary Landrieu (La.).


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/despite-veto-threat-and-heavy-pressure-schumer-supports-sanctions-bill/2013/12/20/

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