Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman distanced herself Wednesday from the White House’s claim that support for new Iran sanctions means opposition to diplomacy, or support for war. “I don’t believe…any member of the Senate, any member of the House are warmongers. I don’t believe that anyone prefers war…..That is an issue of tactics…not an issue of intent,” she told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The chair, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), is the Democratic co-sponsor, along with Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), of a bipartisan bill that would introduce new Iran sanctions in the event that nuclear talks fail at the end of the six-month interim deal. President Barack Obama and promised to veto the bill in his State of the Union address last week, falsely asserting that the interim deal will “eliminate” Iran’s highly-enriched uranium stockpile.
President Obama added that he “will be the first to call for more sanctions” if the deal fails. Yet in the past, the White House has in fact resisted new sanctions–a pattern of behavior Menendez has often criticized in the past. On Wednesday, Menendez observed that adding new sanctions after the fact may be too late to stop Iran from making a nuclear weapon. Members of both parties were skeptical of the administration’s assurances.