Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference on Tuesday morning that the Obama administration has “already given away too much” in nuclear negotiations with Iran.
“The elements of this deal that appears to be close to being made has already given away way too much,” said McConnell, adding that he would be “shocked” if a forthcoming deal with Iran is acceptable to AIPAC supporters and to Congress. On Monday, National Security Advisor Susan Rice found herself at odds with the AIPAC audience when she expressed the Obama administration’s opposition to a ban on all uranium enrichment as part of a nuclear deal with Iran.
Iran has received sanctions relief under the interim nuclear deal it reached with the P5+1 powers in November 2013, and President Barack Obama has vowed to veto a new sanctions bill proposed by U.S. Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) if the legislation passes in Congress.
“The choice is either a deal, or tougher sanctions that really squeeze [Iran],” McConnell told the AIPAC gathering.
A “good deal” with Iran will stipulate that the Islamic Republic cannot enrich uranium, McConnell said, prompting a standing ovation.
McConnell noted that as majority leader, he can “schedule business” in the Senate. As such, he said that if a nuclear deal is passed, the Senate will vote on a proposal by Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) that would require a Congressional review of any deal the Obama administration reaches with Iran. If no deal is reached by the March 24 deadline for a political framework agreement, the Senate will vote on the Menendez-Kirk sanctions bill, said McConnell.