U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) on Tuesday called for caution regarding the U.S.-Iran nuclear negotiations after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Congress on the matter.
Netanyahu said a proposed U.S.-Iran deal had major flaws, including that it would leave Iran’s nuclear infrastructure largely intact and a sunset provision would allow Iran to gradually escape most restrictions on its nuclear activities after 10 years.
“This morning, Prime Minister Netanyahu laid out the concerns held by many Israelis about a possible agreement with Iran over its nuclear program,” said Schiff, who is the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. “Given the behavior of the Iranian regime and its threats to wipe Israel off the map, these concerns deserve our serious consideration. We must approach negotiations with Iran with our eyes wide open, aware that this regime has a long history of deceit and cynicism in its dealings with the international community. At the same time, we must consider the consequences of a failure to reach an agreement and whether there is a plausible alternative to military action. This was a subject on which I would have liked to have heard much more from the prime minister.”
In his speech, Netanyahu said the U.S. should hold out for a better deal regarding Iran’s nuclear capabilities, and that if Iran refuses to accept more stringent terms, the U.S. and its allies should reinforce the current economic sanctions placed on Iran.
“My own belief is that in the absence of an agreement, Iran will again begin to enrich to 20 percent and beyond, bringing on a new line of faster and more efficient centrifuges,” Schiff said. “Congress will pass — with my support — a new set of even more stringent sanctions and we will work to keep the international community behind them.
“From here, it may be a race for time between increased pressure on Iran and the possibility it brings that country back to the negotiating table, and crossing a red line that brings Israel, the United States or both, to war.”
Schiff added that he is still skeptical that an agreement will be reached, and that the Iranian clerics are prepared to make the concessions necessary to end their nuclear aspirations.
“But we will know soon enough, and I would encourage my colleagues to reserve judgment until we see whether in fact we have a good deal, a bad deal or no deal at all,” he said.
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