Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, perhaps the most outspoken critic of Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran on the Democrat side of the aisle – and a serious contender for the bipartisan criticism championship belt – is outraged about the Administration’s weak response to last month’s illegal Iranian ballistic missile test.
“What has happened as a result of Iran violating the U.N. Security Council resolutions as it relates to missile testing? Absolutely nothing,” fumed Menendez on Tuesday, as reported by The Hill. “Something is wrong because the silence is so deafening.”
To date, the Administration has done little except promise to investigate the missile test, which is actually the second illegal launch Iran has made in so many months. The first one in October drew significant media coverage, but U.S. officials only began talking about the second one – evidently conducted on November 21 – yesterday. The U.N. Security Council still has not decided how to respond to the first violation of its resolutions, which is not a flattering comment on the power of U.N. Security Council resolutions.
“Iran can support terror, Iran can develop its nuclear program, Iran can foment sectarian conflict across the Middle East… and yet, it will be rewarded with a multibillion dollar sanctions relief this coming year,” Menendez complained.
Menendez has introduced legislation to extend sanctions against Iran for ten years, and although his party remains mostly in lockstep behind President Obama – with the odd bit of theatrical angst from frauds like Senator Chuck Schumer – there are a few others having second thoughts about the deal.
The Observer thinks it is time for Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand to speak up, noting that both of them ostentatiously based their support for Obama’s deal on his promises of careful vetting, strict accountability, and the swift re-imposition of sanctions if Iran cheated. (With the benefit of hindsight, those promises sound almost exactly like President Obama’s assurances that Syrian refugees will be thoroughly vetted, and ISIS could never pull off a Paris-style terror attack in the United States.)
“There can be no room for interpretation when it comes to holding Iran accountable for even the smallest violations,” Booker said, when announcing his support for the deal. “The U.S. must make consequences for Iranian transgressions clear and measurable in public statements of policy, and pursue those consequences relentlessly when warranted.” Gillibrand made similar assumptions about what she described as an “imperfect” deal.
The Observer finds it “disturbing” to learn that the Administration “now appears never to have meant what it said about verification – the very basis upon which many wavering lawmakers based their yes votes.”
The people who knew the Administration did not mean that before Iran forced them to demonstrate their dishonesty are known as “Republicans.” Those wiser heads also know the Observer is wasting its time trying to shame President Obama into getting tough on Iran by writing, “However desperate the Administration might be to point to a foreign policy ‘success,’ this is no time to encourage further misbehavior with frozen funds.”
Senator Menendez is going loud because he knows the Administration will resist even acknowledging Iranian misbehavior, let alone punishing it. Tehran has been pushing the boundaries ever since Obama announced his big “foreign policy success,” testing to see what it can get away with. It hasn’t found the line yet, not even with two ballistic missile tests.