Republican senators sharply criticized the administration’s closed-door presentation to the Senate Banking Committee today, an appeal that was designed to convince them to hold off on a new round of sanctions against Iran. The committee chairman said he was left “undecided.”
“It was an emotional appeal,” Sen. Bob Corker told reporters after the briefing. “I have to tell you, I was very disappointed in the presentation.”
Corker said that senators were given no details of the interim deal being formulated in negotiations between Iran and world powers in Geneva this month. Secretary of State John Kerry briefed the committee, along with Vice President Joe Biden and the State Department’s lead Iran negotiator Wendy Sherman.
“I am stunned that in a classified setting when you’re trying to talk to the very folks that would be originating legislation relative to sanctions, to have such a lack of specificity – I feel I may get that over the next 24 hours in another setting, but it was solely an emotional appeal,” Corker said.
Sen. Mark Kirk was even more forceful in criticizing the officials’ presentation, calling it “very unconvincing.”
“It was fairly anti-Israeli,” Kirk said to reporters after the briefing. “I was supposed to disbelieve everything the Israelis had just told me, and I think the Israelis probably have a pretty good intelligence service.” He said the Israelis had told him that the “total changes proposed set back the program by 24 days.”
A Senate aide familiar with the meeting said that “every time anybody would say anything about ‘what would the Israelis say,’ they’d get cut off and Kerry would say, ‘You have to ignore what they’re telling you, stop listening to the Israelis on this.'”
“They had no details,” the aide said. “They had no ability to verify anything, to describe anything, to answer basic questions.”
Read more at BuzzFeed.